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Spanish MEPs stuck in Parliament and tourists tell of 'helicopters, soldiers and ambulances'
thinkSPAIN , Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SPANIARDS in Brussels say the city in under siege, with all shops shut and residents and visitors urged to stay at home.

MEPs from Spain, Pablo Zalba and Ramón Jáuregui, say they are stuck in the European Parliament building and have been advised not to leave, and that the centre is surrounded by soldiers.

One Spanish woman on a short break in the Belgian capital says ambulances and helicopters are 'everywhere', and that although shops have been ordered to close, the Carrefour near where she is staying has been told to do the opposite and staff to remain on the premises.

She says a cashier at the supermarket, who is from Valencia in eastern Spain, told her she is not able to go home at the end of her shift.

According to the tourist, Sandra Muñoz, the Spanish Consulate advised her when she called that she should not go out on foot or by public transport, only via taxi.

Politicians, celebrities and sports personalities from Spain have sent their condolences to the people of Brussels via social networks, and King Felipe VI rang the King of Belgium this morning to do likewise.

Belgian air space has been closed and all flights to the country from elsewhere, including Spain, have been cancelled, whilst the airports of Paris-Orly and Charles de Gaulle, Milan-Malpensa and Frankfurt temporary closed this morning.

The city metro has been shut completely since the rush-hour blast, and only a few inter-city trains are running.

So far, the death toll is said to have reached 35, of whom 20 have been killed at the Maelbeek metro station and 15 at Zaventem airport.

Witnesses, including air terminal staff, say they heard cries in Arabic before what appeared to be gunshots and then two blasts – now believed to be at least one suicide bomber – before the ceiling collapsed, walls came down and passengers were seen falling to the ground.

One worker, Alphonse, 40, a Brussels native, said he helped move five of the bodies and that he saw several people lying in pools of blood, some of whom had had their legs blown off.

The blast happened just before 09.00hrs this morning (Tuesday) near the boarding gates for an American Airlines flight.



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