Belgian police release chilling image of men they believe carried out terror attack

The image released by Belgian police
The image released by Belgian police

The Belgian Federal Police have released an image of the three men they suspect to be behind the bomb attack on Brussels Airport this morning.

UPDATE (17:55)

A manhunt has been launched for one of the terrorists behind coordinated bombings in Brussels which left 34 dead and almost 200 injured.

As a series of police raids were mounted across Belgium, prosecutor Eric van der Sypt said two suicide bombers died in the attack on the main airport in Brussels and a third was being "actively" sought.

Belgian police issued an image of the man, one of three seen pushing luggage trolleys through Zaventem airport moments before two bombs exploded.

Photo of the man who is the subject of a manhunt by Belgian authorities

A third bomb was deactivated at the airport hours after the attack.

In a statement, Belgian police appealed for information about the man, who is wearing a hat and a light-coloured jacket.

"Police are looking to identify this man. He is suspected of having committed the attack at Zaventem on Tuesday March 22," it said.

"If you recognise this individual or have information regarding this attack please call 0800 30 300."

UPDATE (18:30)

Chemical products and an Islamic State group flag were also found in the raids conducted by police.

The man on the right is believed to be on the run.

The two other men are believed to have blown themselves up, with local media claiming that the gloves on their hands are covering the deadly detonators.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Brussels, saying its extremists opened fire in the city's 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.

The two airport blasts, at least one of them blamed on a suicide bomber, left behind a chaotic scene in the departure lounge as windows were blown out, ceilings collapsed and travellers streamed out of the smoky building.

About an hour later, another bomb exploded on a rush-hour subway train near the European Union headquarters. Terrified passengers had to evacuate through darkened tunnels to safety.

"What we feared has happened," Belgian prime minister Charles Michel told reporters. "In this time of tragedy, this black moment for our country, I appeal to everyone to remain calm but also to show solidarity."

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level, diverting planes and trains and ordering people to stay where they were. Airports across Europe immediately tightened security.

"We are at war," French prime minister Manuel Valls said after a crisis meeting in Paris. "We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war."

French president Francois Hollande added: "Terrorists struck Brussels, but it was Europe that was targeted, and it is all the world which is concerned by this."

European security officials have been bracing for a major attack for weeks, and warned that the Islamic State group was actively preparing to strike. The arrest Friday of Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November attacks in Paris, heightened those fears, as investigators said many more people were involved than originally thought and that some are still on the loose.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks, saying in a posting on the group's Amaq news agency that its extremists opened fire in the airport and "several of them" detonated suicide belts. It said another suicide attacker struck in the subway.

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

Mr Michel said there was no immediate evidence linking the attacks with Abdeslam. After his arrest, Abdeslam told authorities he had created a new network and was planning new attacks.

US president Barack Obama pledged to "do whatever is necessary" to help Belgian authorities seek justice.

"We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people," Mr Obama said in Havana, where he was closing a three-day visit.

Certain neighbourhoods in Brussels, such as the Molenbeek quarter, have bred extremists and supplied foreign fighters. Plotters linked to the Paris attacks and others have either moved through or lived in parts of the city.

Tuesday's explosions at the airport in the Brussels suburb of Zaventem came shortly after 8am, one of its busiest periods. Belgian health minister Maggie de Block said 11 people were killed and 81 wounded. Eleven people had serious injuries, Marc Decramer, of the Gasthuisberg hospital, in Leuven told broadcaster VTM.

Zach Mouzoun, who arrived on a flight from Geneva about 10 minutes before the first blast, told BFM television that the second, louder explosion brought down ceilings and ruptured pipes.

"It was atrocious. The ceilings collapsed," he said. "There was blood everywhere, injured people, bags everywhere."

"We were walking in the debris. It was a war scene," he said.

Video taken moments after the explosions showed travellers huddled next to airport check-in counters and lying near luggage and trolleys as dust and the cries of the wounded filled the air. Dazed people stumbled from the scene, some with clothes and shoes blown off.

Anthony Deloos, an airport worker for Swissport, which handles check-in and baggage services, said the first explosion took place near the Swissport counters where customers pay for overweight baggage. He and a colleague said the second blast hit near a Starbucks cafe.

"I jumped into a luggage chute to be safe," Deloos said.

The bomb on the subway train came after 9am, killing 20 people and wounding more than 100, mayor Yvan Majeur said.

"The Metro was leaving Maelbeek station for Schuman when there was a really loud explosion," said Alexandre Brans, 32, wiping blood from his face. "It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the Metro."

Near the entrance to the station, rescue workers set up a makeshift medical treatment centre in a pub. Dazed and shocked morning commuters streamed from the Metro entrances as police tried to set up a security cordon.

The Metro shut down after the attacks, as did the airport. More than 200 flights to Brussels were diverted or cancelled, according to flight tracking service Flightradar24.

By the end of the workday, city officials said residents could begin moving around on the streets of the capital and train stations were reopening. But Peter Mertens of the

Belgian crisis centre said the threat of more attacks "is still real and serious".

At least one and possibly two Kalashnikovs were found in the departure lounge at the airport, according to a European security official in contact with a Belgian police official. It was not immediately clear whether the firearms were used in the attacks.

Travellers fled the airport as quickly as they could. In video shown on France's i-Tele television, men, women and children dashed from the terminal in different directions.

Security officers patrolled a hall with blown-out panelling and ceiling panels covering the floor.

Marc Noel, 63, was about to board a Delta flight to Atlanta, to return to his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. A Belgian native, he said he was in an airport shop buying magazines when the first blast struck about 50 yards away.

"People were crying, shouting - children. It was a horrible experience," he said, adding that his decision to shop might have saved his life. "I would probably have been in that place when the bomb went off."