News

Actions

Islamic State group claims responsibility for Brussels attacks

Posted: 11:51 AM, Mar 22, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-22 11:51:42-04

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks in Brussels, saying its extremists opened fire in the airport and “several of them” detonated suicide belts.

The posting in the group’s Amaq news agency said another suicide attacker detonated in the metro.

The posting claimed the attack was in response to Belgium’s support of the international coalition arrayed against it.

An Iraqi intelligence official says sources in the Syrian city of Raqqa have told them that the Islamic State group has been planning terrorist attacks in Europe for two months which would “target airports and train stations.”

The official tells The Associated Press on Tuesday that Iraqi officials told European countries about the plans “but Brussels was not part of the plans” at the time.

Airport staff comfort each other as passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 28 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport  and a Metro station were targeted by explosions. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

Airport staff comfort each other as passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 28 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport and a Metro station were targeted by explosions. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

He says IS militants changed the operation and moved it to Brussels “because of the detention of Salah Abdeslam” — the Paris attacks suspect arrested Friday in Brussels.

Another senior Iraqi intelligence official said “Daesh (IS) was behind this operation and it was planned in Raqqa two months ago and there are three suicide attackers who will carry out another attack.”

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity since the investigation was ongoing.

Belgian officials say 31 people were killed Tuesday and 187 wounded in two explosions at the Belgium airport and one at a city subway station.

People can start moving around Brussels once more after being told to stay in place for hours after bombing attacks Tuesday morning at the airport and on a subway station.

Peter Mertens of the Belgian crisis center says “the threat is still real and serious” of more attacks.

But he says air traffic at Brussels’ Zaventem airport “remains closed for the day under any circumstance” but people in the Belgian capital can start walking outside again and train stations are reopening.