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    Maelbeek station maintains a poignant silence

    © Belga
    A hundred or so people gathered in the concourse to pay tribute to the victims, by observing a minute’s silence at 9.11 a.m. precisely.
    © Belga

    A minute’s silence was observed on Thursday at 9.11 a.m. in Maelbeek metro station, exactly two years after the terrorist attack perpetrated there in 2016. Victims and their loved ones attending, as well as an official delegation made up, in particular, of the Prime Minister, Charles Michel, the Brussels Minister-President, Rudi Vervoort and the Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, paused in the station concourse to remember the event.

    Sombre-faced, the hundred or so people gathered in the concourse paid tribute to the victims by observing a minute’s silence at 9.11 a.m. exactly, the time when Khalid El Bakraoui set off his explosive belt in a stationary metro train, on line 5 in the Maelbeek station within the heart of the European Quarter.

    Today commuters on the metro, which had temporarily stopped, were also invited to pause to quietly remember the victims. After this tribute, punctuated only by the sound of a cello piece, Charles Michel, Rudi Vervoort and Philippe Close each laid a wreath, without saying a word. Outside, police officers surrounded the station entrances, although they remained open to the public.

    The victims attending the remembrance ceremony were then greeted at the Thon Hotel nearby. At the same time, the Prime Minister then attended a commemorative ceremony at the memorial erected to commemorate all of victims of the terrorist attacks, located between the Parc du Cinquantenaire and the Schuman roundabout.

    The attack at the Maelbeek metro station caused 16 deaths, leaving more than one hundred people injured. It followed the initial salvo of fatal explosions, which took place at Brussels Airport in Zaventem. In total these attacks, claimed to be carried out by the jihadist organisation Islamic State, caused 32 deaths with 324 people injured to varying degrees.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times