brussels attacks subway bruxelles.jpg
Photograph: EPA/FRANCESCO CALLEDDA

Rodolphe Devilez, was working in a garage near the Maelbeek subway station in Brussels, when the bomb went off.

"We felt the explosion. The building was shaking, even though it is a very stable construction. We all ran outside," he told dpa.

"We saw people running from the metro, some had burns. Their hair was singed, their faces wounded," he added visibly shocked. "There were children as well. A little girl was crying and looking for her mum."

At the airport, where the first bomb went off, people were waiting for their flight connections or to meet relatives when they were surprised by the blast.

"We were in a book shop, when we heard an explosion, then another loud bang," said one woman. "We could feel the impact of the explosion, then we saw people running."

Finally, they were taken to safety. "We left the airport on foot," she said.

Erica Sepulveda had left her house early to meet her parents at the airport. "They were on the plane from Atlanta when it happened," she told dpa.

In the departures hall, one level above the exit where Sepulveda was waiting for her parents, a suicide bomber had detonated the deadly device that destroyed large parts of the airport's glass front.

"They didn't want to travel because they were scared of terror attacks," Sepulveda said about her parents. They did fly after all, and then were stuck at the airport in Brussels like thousands of others.

"They are still at the airport," she said earlier in the day. "They made them wait on the plane all morning." Only when the situation seemed safe were they allowed to get disembark.

In the EU quarter, where the metro bomb exploded, the situation appeared anything but safe.

"It's war out there," said a local woman as she was looking out of her window.

In the city centre, heavily armed soldiers were patrolling the streets - a familiar sight since the terrorist attacks in Paris last November.

"We are scared. So many people have died," said a young woman standing in front of a supermarket in the centre of Brussels. "It could happen to any of us."

Latest news

Germany's record surplus sets off debate about using extra cash

Germany's budget surplus continued to grow last year, reaching its highest level since the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 and setting off a debate about what to do with the extra cash.

Croatian PM says gov't has no influence on appointment of Podravka managers

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday the appointment of new management board members in the Podravka food company was in the remit of the supervisory board and that neither he nor the ministers had any influence on talks at the supervisory board.

Australian archbishops call abuse probe a 'catastrophic failure'

The Australian Catholic Church's handling of a child sex abuse scandal has been a "catastrophic failure" and amounted to "criminal negligence," blasted the country's archbishops Thursday.

WHO: More than 300 million suffer from depression as world ages

The global number of people with depression has risen by 18 per cent to 322 million in the past decade, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday, demanding greater attention for high-risk groups.

Ukrainian lawmaker, vocal critic of Russian government, abducted

Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Honcharenko, an adamant critic of the Russian government, has been abducted by a "group of unknown people," state media reported Thursday, quoting the Odessa regional prosecutors office.

Australian ex-PM slams Netanyahu for 'torpedoing' peace process

Former Australian premier Kevin Rudd has accused Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu of "torpedoing" peace negotiations in the Middle East.

Weekly "Novosti" dismisses NGO's accusations

The newspaper today also dismissed all accusations the NGO presented at a recent news conference, and retorted that the NGO's criticism were ill-intended and untrue accusations.

Sixteen killed in fighting between army and rebels in Congo

Sixteen fighters from the reactivated Congolese rebel movement M23 have been killed during two days of fighting with the army in the east of the country, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Maltese FM on behalf of EU calls for preservation of stability in BiH

Maltese Foreign Minister George Vella said in Sarajevo on Thursday that his country, as the current chair of the European Union, closely followed the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and other parts of the Western Balkans.

Croatia-Hungary committee on minorities meets after four-year hiatus

The Croatia-Hungary Intergovernmental Committee for the implementation of the agreement on the protection of the rights of the respective ethnic minorities met in Zagreb on Thursday after a four-year hiatus.

Syrian rebels claim full control of al-Bab, defeating IS

Syrian rebels backed by Turkey said Thursday they are fully in control of al-Bab, wresting it from Islamic State after a military campaign that began in November and cost hundreds of lives.

HURS says Croatia fails to create conditions for long-term growth

The Croatian Association of Workers' Trade Unions (HURS) warned on Thursday that a report which the European Commission released on Wednesday showed that Croatia had failed to create conditions for a long-term economic growth, adding that the situation in the Podravka food company suggested the continuation of the trend of shutting down jobs in the production sector.