Two of the suspected attackers, captured on CCTV dressed in black and wearing black gloves on their left hands thought to have concealed detonators, “very likely committed a suicide attack”, the federal prosecutor, Frederic van Leeuw, told a news conference.
The third, wearing a white jacket and hat, was being actively sought, he added. Searches in the Schaerbeek area of Brussels on Tuesday night had uncovered “an explosive device containing nails”, various chemicals and an Islamic State flag, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Isis claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying through its affiliated news agency Amaq that its fighters carried out “a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices”. The extremists had also opened fire at the airport and suicide belts were detonated in both attacks, it said.
In the latest terror onslaught to hit continental Europe, two blasts targeted the main hall of Zaventem airport at about 8am, with a third detonating in the Maelbeek metro station, 100m from the headquarters of the European commission, just over an hour later during the morning rush hour.