Social media has been swarmed with updates after apparent attacks in Brussels, with the #Brussels and #jesuisbruxelles hashtags trending internationally on Twitter in the aftermath as BETCParis tweeted its support for the country.
The explosions happened earlier today (22 March), reportedly killing nearly 30 people at the Brussels airport and Maelbeek metro station. Heathrow and Gatwick airports have ramped up security, while flights between the UK and Brussels have been cancelled for the rest of the day,
Pictures of the damage from the blast have flooded social media, while the hashtags #Brussels, #jesuisbruxelles and #Belgium are currently trending worldwide. Witnesses have also captured footage of the aftermath on their mobile phones, which several media outlets have used in reporting the attacks.
BETCParis, which lost a colleague in the ISIS attacks in Paris last November, has tweeted a message of support (see above). It reads: “Thoughts with Brussels and all the Belgians.
ISIS sympathisers have also taken to Twitter to comment on the explosions. The Jerusalem Post reports that the supporters are using the #brusselsisonfire hashtag following the apparent attacks. One of the more popular posts said: “You declared war against us, and bombed us, and we attacked your homeland”. The report goes on to claim that many of the backers are also claiming that the explosions are an attempt to pressure Belgian security officials to release the recently apprehended suspect Salah Abdeslam.
Abdeslam is suspected by police to have been personally involved in the attacks in Paris last year that killed 130 people.