Council chief caught up in city bombing

Coun Simon Blackburn

Coun Simon Blackburn

5
Have your say

Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn was among travellers caught up in terrorist attacks in Brussels.

The town hall chief flew into the Belgium capital yesterday just after the bombs exploded.

Emergency services evacuate a victim wrapped in a blanket after a explosion in a main metro station in Brussels on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Explosions rocked the Brussels airport and the subway system Tuesday, killing at least 13 people and injuring many others just days after the main suspect in the November Paris attacks was arrested in the city, police said. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Emergency services evacuate a victim wrapped in a blanket after a explosion in a main metro station in Brussels on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Explosions rocked the Brussels airport and the subway system Tuesday, killing at least 13 people and injuring many others just days after the main suspect in the November Paris attacks was arrested in the city, police said. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

At least 30 people are believed to have been killed and dozens injured in attacks at Brussels’ international airport and a city metro station.

Coun Blackburn arrived at Brussels Charleoi Airport, south of Brussels and some distance from the site of the attacks, as part of a group of Labour party members who had been due to meet with the North West’s Euro MPs.

But following explosions near the European Parliament, the group was kept at the airport where there was a high police and military presence.

Coun Blackburn said; “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the attacks in Brussels, and their families.

“I lead on anti-terrorism and anti-extremism on behalf of local government in England and Wales, and am due in London on Thursday to meet with the Home Secretary, and I meet regularly with the Security Minister at the Home Office.

“Attacks of this nature cause huge and understandable concern, and both the Government and the security services work very hard to repel would-be attackers.

“These events will only serve to strengthen our resolve.”

Twin blasts hit Zaventem airport at about 7am, while there was another explosion at Maelbeek metro station near EU headquarters an hour later.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attacks in a statement issued on the IS-linked Amaq agency.

Belgium has raised its terrorism alert to its highest level.

Blackpool Town Hall’s flag was flown at half mast.