At least 31 people are dead after multiple explosions were set off at two different sites in Brussels, Belgium. About 230 others were injured, including three American missionaries, who were "seriously injured," according to a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
ABC News reports two blasts occurred at the Zaventem airport and one was in a subway station. The bombs have been declared the work of terrorists, according to a Belgian federal prosecutor.
CNN reports one of the explosions at the airport was a suicide bombing.
The bombings occurred only days after Paris bombing suspect Salah Abdeslam was arrested in Belgium. After the arrest, Belgian authorities were concerned the nation was at risk of terror acts from Abdeslam’s affiliates.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said, “We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened.”
Security Precautions Taken
In the aftermath of the explosions, Belgium has been placed on the highest terror alert level. The metro stations have been shut down and airport evacuated.
Effects of the bombings could even be felt in the United States, as Washington, D.C. tightened security in its metro system. Police patrols and K9 sweeps will be increased as a precaution.
Presidential Candidates Respond
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz responded, "Our hearts break for the men and women of Brussels this morning. Make no mistake -- these terror attacks are no isolated incidents. They are just the latest in a string of coordinated attacks by radical Islamic terrorists perpetrated by those who are waging war against all who do not accept their extreme strain of Islam."
Donald Trump said, "Do you all remember how beautiful and safe a place Brussels was. Not anymore, it is from a different world! U.S. must be vigilant and smart!"
John Kasich responded, “I want to express my solidarity with the people of Belgium in the aftermath of the attacks that took place in Brussels. Along with every American, I am sickened by the pictures of the carnage, by the injuries and by the loss of life.”
Jan Wisse, field leader for missions organization OM Belgium told Hello Christian that people often do not know how to respond to such senseless acts of violence.
“I don’t really know what we should pray,” He said. “What do we pray for in a tragedy like this? I think it is meaningful to stand still at a moment like this and listen to God. Even when you don’t know what to pray for.”
Wisse continued, “I pray that the lies that incite people to do these things will be exposed. I also pray that as a society we won’t organize a witch hunt or get stranded in anti-Islamism. And I pray that our answer to these attacks will be love and forgiveness.”
In solidarity with the citizens of Brussels, the hashtag #JeSuisBruxelles began trending on social media. People from around the world shared images of black, yellow, and red hearts, the colors of the Belgian flag, words of compassion, and prayers.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Publication date: March 22, 2016
Updated: 10:50 a.m. EST, 4:00 p.m. EST