• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Brussels Attacks
Spain foreign minister blames Brussels explosions on Isis
Photo: @Exen/Twitter

Spain foreign minister blames Brussels explosions on Isis

The Local · 22 Mar 2016, 16:31

Published: 22 Mar 2016 10:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Mar 2016 16:31 GMT+01:00

Acting Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo attributed the explosions in the airport and metro stations in Brussels to the terror group Isis as the city was still reeling from the devastation on Tuesday morning.

Hours later, Isis claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to reports by Reuters.

Belgian prosecutors have said that the blasts at the airport were set off by a suicide bomber and at least 23 are dead. 

The Spanish Interior Ministry wrote on Twitter that the minister would hold meetings on Tuesday to assess the terror threat as well as a commission on anti-terrorism.

Retired Spanish basketball player, Juan Manuel López Iturriaga, told El Pais over the phone about his own experience at the airport's boarding area when the bombings occurred.

"We hadn't heard anything strange until suddenly people surrounded us and told us to run," he said while still waiting to be evacuated from the airport. 

"At first they told us to stay in the boarding zone, later to leave and now we are waiting here for a bus to pick us up. It's all very confusing... We don't have any more information than what we read on Twitter or the internet. 

"I feel a bit ill, but we have not felt fear or panic. What affects me more is that I'm so close to where there was a bomb."

The city quickly went into lockdown with the airport  - an international hub - immediately closed until at least 6am Wednesday and the city's Metro system evacuated. The city's museums were also closed and the public  transport system suspended.

Spanish foreign minister Margallo said in an interview with broadcaster Cadena Cope as many were first hearing about the news that he was "profoundly shaken" by the events and that he believed the explosions were attacks by Isis, according to Europa Press, which had access to the interview.

"It's a phenomenon of extraordinary gravity and is extraordinarily serious," the minister said in reference to jihadist terrorism

A spokeswoman for Aena, Spain's airport operator, told The Local Tuesday morning that at that moment "there are no official plans to increase security in Spain's airports, but that could change as we get more information throughout the day".

Aena had also written on Twitter that there was one flight as of 10am heading to Brussels from Spain, but it then headed back to Barcelona. All other flights to Brussels have been cancelled or rerouted.

Madrid Metro also told The Local that: "We are working with police on all matters related to security."

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed on Twitter his great concern for the situation in Belgium.

"We are following the events of what happened at Brussels airport with regret and worry. All of our support and solidarity," Rajoy wrote. 

If you or your family are in Brussels and directly affected, call the emergency number for the Spanish consulate there: +32 2 509 87 46.

Story continues below…

 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Catalonia ex-president faces trial over illegal 'referendum'
Artur Mas faces trial for his role in symbolic plebiscite. Photo: AFP

Artur Mas and two other officials are accused of overstepping authority by staging a mock independence referendum in November 2014 in defiance of a ban from Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Woman fined after 'stealing' her own dog from kennels
Photo: Patrick Theiner/Flickr

The woman in Mallorca took her dog without filling out the necessary paperwork.

Barcelona ups fine for illegal home-rentals to €600,000
Companies like Airbnb will now face fines of up to €600,000 for illegal lodgings. Photo: AFP

Barcelona has imposed a 20-fold hike in the maximum fine that can be given to home rental sites like Airbnb if they promote illegal accommodation.

Spain's animal rights party wins record votes in election
Pacma members protesting against bullfighting. Photo: AFP

An animal rights party in Spain won a record number of votes in weekend elections in a country where opposition to bullfighting is more and more vocal.

The ultimate guide to Madrid Gay Pride 2016
Photo: Missiz Me/Flickr.

From a two million-strong parade to fiestas across the city, the Madrid Gay Pride Festival 2016 promises to be one of the best yet. The Local takes a look at the highlights.

The bright side of Brexit: The 'good news' for Brits in Spain
Could Brexit be a reason to celebrate in Spain? Photo: AFP

Well the UK voted to Leave the EU, the pound is tumbling, and stock markets have been in turmoil, but it's not all bad news for Brits living and working in Spain... right?

Spanish arrest Russian mafia in money laundering probe
Photo: Civil Guard / Interior Ministry

The massive bust saw eight people arrested amd 191 properties across Spain seized.

Meet the new face of women's tennis: Garbiñe Muguruza
Photo: Garbiñe Muguruza/Instagram

We take a look at the Spaniard who is set to become the new face of women's tennis.

Madrid's prostitutes offered study grants to get off streets
File Photo: ipi6r/Flickr

Madrid City Council is offering 31 scholarships worth €76,500 to prostitutes who want to leave the streets and get an education.

The Local list
Five reasons why Spain is a great place to be gay
The Europride parade in Madrid. Photo: Bru Garcia / AFP.

The Local takes a look some of the major advantages for the LGBT community in Spain.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
PP win most seats and PSOE cling on to second place
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
International
Brexit limbo: What happens next for expat Brits in Spain?
Politics
Spanish elections: What are the possible outcomes?
International
Worried after Brexit? Here’s how to become Spanish
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Politics
Why Spain is heading for a Groundhog day election
International
Brit expats in Spain stunned and fearful after Brexit win
Travel
The intern's guide to surviving a summer in Spain
National
The weird and wonderful ways Spain celebrates midsummer
National
Get your kit off! Spain's ten best nudist beaches
International
Spain REALLY wants Britain to stay in EU and here's why
National
Don't jump! Officials in Spain warn against 'balconing' craze
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Girl's best friend: Four-year-old finds comfort with a bull
Politics
Hilarious video pokes fun at expats in Spain over Brexit
National
Top ten tricks to survive the Spanish summer
National
Spain knocked off top spot for world's best restaurant
International
Meet the Spaniard working as North Korea's secret weapon
National
Sheep invade Spanish city after shepherd takes a snooze
Features
Five brilliant ways to beat the crowds in Barcelona
National
Experts warn of jellyfish boom across Spain's beaches
Politics
Are these the weirdest political campaign ads ever?
National
Giant inflatable poo goes walkies from town square
Lifestyle
Spanish study proves fat really ISN'T bad for you
National
President Obama announces three-day visit to Spain in July
3,378
jobs available