Victims of Brussels terror attacks remembered at airport and Maelbeek metro

Victims of Brussels terror attacks remembered at airport and Maelbeek metro
People comfort each other during a ceremony at Brussels Airport in Zaventem on 22 March 2023. Credit: Belga/ Hatim Kaghat

The victims of the terror attacks that rocked Belgium on this day seven years ago are being remembered with moments of reflection on Wednesday, including at the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels and at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, where the attacks took place.

The victims of the attacks of 22 March 2016 were commemorated at Brussels Airport on Wednesday morning during a subdued ceremony, attended by several relatives of victims, emergency workers and employees of the airport. The names of the victims' names were called out and flowers laid down.

This year, not 16, but 17 names were called out at the airport. The name of Shanti De Corte was added, the young woman who was euthanised last year as a result of her declining mental health after the attack. She has since been called "the 33rd victim of the attacks" on several occasions.

A minute's silence was observed in the airport at 07:58 in the morning, the exact time of the first attack at the airport.

A few moments after the first blast, a second explosion followed as the second suicide bomber detonated their explosive. The bombers Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui were responsible for the blasts while a third, Mohamed Abrini, fled. The departure hall was badly damaged and the airport closed to passenger flights for 12 days.

About an hour after the explosions in Zaventem, another bomb exploded in the second carriage of a metro in Maelbeek station, near the European quarter, at 09:11. A minute's silence was observed here too and the metro did not pass through the station. The names of the victims of the attack in Brussels were also called through loudspeakers.

Tweet Translation: "March 22 is a date unlike any other. Extra heavy this year, due to the ongoing terror trial. For affected families and friends, the pain is permanent. For STIB, this place is an open wound. For Brussels, this day will always be a scar." (Elke Van den Brandt is Brussels' Mobility Minister)

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Later in the morning, from 10:30, a moment of reflection will be organised at the memorial for victims near the Schuman roundabout on the Rue de la Loi, which will be attended by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, as well as representatives of victims' organisations, Brussels Airport and public transport company STIB, who will lay wreaths.

Afterwards, a minute's silence will be observed, followed by the Belgian and European anthems.

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