Europe

Brussels attacks: First anniversary of bombings marked

Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde attend a ceremony at Brussels Zaventem airport Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Queen Mathilde joined King Philippe (second right) at Zaventem airport

Belgium is marking the first anniversary of the suicide bomb attacks on the Brussels airport and underground system, which killed 32 people.

More than 300 people were wounded in the attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

King Philippe, who was joined by Queen Mathilde and Prime Minister Charles Michel, led a minute's silence at Zaventem airport.

Commemorations also took place at the Maelbeek underground station.

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Media captionAirport staff stood in silent tribute, many of them weeping

Sixteen people died at each attack location.

A memorial to the 22 March 2016 attacks is due to be officially unveiled in the Belgian capital's European quarter.

The commemoration at the airport began with an emotional song from Eddy Van Calster, whose wife Fabienne Vansteenkiste, an airport worker, died in the attacks.

German Lars Waetzmann was about to leave for New York with his wife Jennifer when the attacks happened. He was badly hurt but she died.

"The unthinkable happened," he said at the commemoration. "What if we had left 10 minutes later? What if we had driven a bit slower? In a split second my world changed. But on that very moment I also started seeing the best in mankind."

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Media caption"I find energy in that place" - Brussels attack survivor Sebastien Bellin on returning to the airport

The suicide bombings were Belgium's worst terror attacks. A year on, Belgium is still on a high state of alert, with soldiers patrolling the streets.

As well as the 32 victims of the bombings, three suicide bombers died on the 22 March 2016. Several other men, some identified on CCTV as having been accomplices of the attackers, were subsequently arrested.

The gang has been linked to the November 2015 Paris attackers.

Brussels suspect in Paris attacks case

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