Brussels attacks: controlled explosion close to university

Vrije Universiteit Brussel cancels classes for the rest of the week

March 22, 2016
Source: iStock
Brussels, Belgium

Security forces carried out a controlled explosion near the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels) following today's deadly attacks at the city’s airport and metro station.

Officers carried out the operation close to the institution’s campus at around 12:45pm (GMT), hours after suspected terror attacks hit Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station.



The university later announced that it would close for the rest of the week due to "safety concerns" at its Etterbeek campus, with all classes and services suspended, while staff have been told to stay at home.

In a statement the university added that those living in student accommodation would be able to remain on campus and additional security would be provided.



Earlier in the day, the campus had been in lockdown with staff and students told to stay inside.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in the Belgian capital, which came four days after Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015, was arrested in Brussels.

Update: Vrije Universiteit Brussel announced on 23 March that due to there "no longer being a specific threat near our campuses" it would gradually reopen from 24 March. However, it said classes would remain cancelled for the week due to the fact many resident students had returned home.

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