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Explosion heard at Brussels airport

Posted at 4:40 AM, Mar 22, 2016

BRUSSELS (AP) -- At least one person was killed when two explosions ripped through the departure hall at Brussels airport Tuesday, police said. All flights were canceled, arriving planes were being diverted and Belgium's terror alert level was raised to maximum, officials said.

"One person has died and perhaps there are several more," said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the situation was developing.

The explosions hit at the middle of the busiest time at the airport, which serves the city that is the capital of the 28-nation European Union. NATO is also headquartered in the region.

Smoke was seen billowing out of the terminal after Tuesday's morning's blasts.

Amateur video shown on France's i-Tele television showed passengers including a child running with a backpack dashing out of the terminal different directions as they tugged luggage, Another image showed a security officer patrolling inside a hall with blasted paneling and what appears to be ceiling insulation covering the floor.

"I knew it was an explosion because I've been around explosions before," said Denise Brandt, an American woman interviewed by Sky television.

"I felt the explosion, the way it feels through your body. And we just looked at each other and I said let's go this way. It was over there. There was just this instinct to get away from it. Then we saw people running, crying, toward us. So I knew we were going in the right direction and away from it. "

Passengers were led onto the tarmac and the crisis center urged people not to come to the airport.

The explosions happened only days after the prime suspect in the Paris attacks Salah Abdeslam was arrested in Brussels.