Europe steps up security in airports and at borders following blasts in Brussels

Broken windows seen at the scene of explosions at Zaventem airport near Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016.
Broken windows seen at the scene of explosions at Zaventem airport near Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP, REUTERS) - Security measures have been reinforced at the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris following Tuesday's (March 22) bombings in Brussels, and French President Francois Hollande called an emergency meeting of senior government ministers.

A full deployment of security officials was underway at all eight terminals of the international airport and its two railway stations, with reinforced checks on trains arriving from Brussels, said the source.

Dutch counter-terrorism officials also said they were boosting security at national airports and tightening controls on the southern border with Belgium.

"Out of precaution we are taking a number of additional measures in the Netherlands," the Dutch coordinator for terrorism and security said, adding there would be "extra police patrols at Schipol, Rotterdam and Eindhoven and border controls on the southern border".

Security has also been reinforced at Frankfurt airport after the Brussels blasts, German police said.

 

Greek carrier Aegean Airlines said it had suspended all its flights to and from Brussels airport after blasts at its departures terminal, with its morning flight to the Belgian capital diverted to Dusseldorf. 11 other flights from Germany, Poland and Switzerland bound for Brussels airport have been diverted to Liege, Belgium's RTBF reported.

 

Explosions hit the departure hall of Brussels airport on Tuesday morning. All flights at the airport have been suspended, the Belgian air traffic control service said.

There are no direct flights between Singapore and Brussels.

 

Security was also stepped up at London's Gatwick airport . "As a result of the terrible incidents in Brussels, we have increased our security presence and patrols around the airport," the airport said in a statement.

Eurostar trains between Brussels and London have been also been suspended "currently due to the events in Brussels," the operator tweeted.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would chair a crisis response meeting following explosions in Brussels on Tuesday.

"I am shocked and concerned by the events in Brussels. We will do everything we can to help," Cameron said on Twitter, adding that he would chair a meeting of the COBRA response committee. "I will be chairing a COBRA meeting on the events in Brussels later this morning," Cameron added.

The Dutch cabinet will also have an extra meeting at the Ministry of General Affairs to discuss the situation. “Belgium was again hit by cowardly and murderous attacks,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a first reaction. “Netherlands is ready to help our southern neighbors in any way.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian were among those present in the emergency meeting with Mr Hollande, according to the president’s office.