World leaders call for unity after #BrusselsAttacks

Terrorist attacks took place on the capital's airport and metro station yesterday, killing 34 people.

A man lights a candle at a makeshift memorial at Place de la Bourse (Beursplein) following attacks in Brussels on 22 March, 2016. Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights and European railways froze links with Brussels after a series of bomb blasts killed around 35 people in the city's airport and a metro train, sparking a broad security response. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Belgium has begun three days of national mourning in the wake of terrorist attacks on the capital's airport and metro station, which killed 34 people and wounded more than 200 others.

An international manhunt also continues for a suspect in yesterday's attacks for which the I slamic State has claimed responsibility.

The man was seen on the airport's CCTV with two supposed suicide bombers shortly before they struck in the first of two attacks that also hit Brussels' metro.

Officials have urged people in the Belgian capital to be vigilant while some other countries like Britain are warning their citizens against travel to the city for all but essential reasons.

Brussels Airlines, which serves many citizens across Europe, has cancelled its services for at least the next two days.

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World leaders have condemned the attacks with French President Francois Hollande calling for unity.

"We are all aware that we are all involved and must deal with the subject, because without security there will be no economic development and we must ensure that all means go into security in France and all of Europe."

United State President Barack Obama says America will assist in the fight against terrorism in whatever way it can.

"We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible. This is yet another reminder that the world must unite, must be together regardless of nationality, race and faith in fighting against the scourge."

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Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) Director Jasmine Opperman says the attacks in Brussels yesterday were almost inevitable.

She says many western governments' safety and security plans aren't effective enough to prevent such incidents.

"The scary part is it flexibility. It's the ability to actually activate cell organisations, execute well planned and precise targeted attacks, irrespective of security measures implanted by western governments."


The country will observe a minute's silence at midday, which is 1pm South African time, and has declared three days of mourning.

The country's Prime Minister Charles Michel is to hold an extraordinary cabinet meeting today and has already tightened security around the capital and in particular its major transport hubs.

The city will try to get back to work today, but with so much of the transport system shut down, commuters will face a nerving struggle getting into and out from work.

Vigils have been held in Brussels and around the world to honour the victims.