A Euro MP from Lancashire who was just 100m away from one of this morning’s terror attacks in Brussels has urged people to “stand as one”.
Sajjad Karim saw police driving away from his apartment after a blast at Zaventem airport, but then saw vehicles heading to the nearby Maelbeek metro station after an explosion and hundreds of people leaving.
People around the world have paid their respects to those killed, with Preston City Council planning to fly the flag at the town hall at half-mast tomorrow.
Mr Karim, who was caught up in a terrorist raid in Mumbai in 2008, hopes to leave Brussels soon to return to the Ribble Valley.
He said: “Whether it’s Paris or London, whether it’s Brussels or Berlin or Islamabad or Istanbul, the mindset of the people who are carrying out these attacks is that we are all the same people.
“When they target one of us they target all of us and we must stand as one to face this evil. I hope my constituents are standing one to one with the people of Belgium.”
MEP Steven Woolfe, who was at his flat 50m from the station, told a national radio station: “The next thing I heard was a very loud bang that everyone said was like a car exhaust going off. The building shook.”
Rural business adviser Simon Haley, from Preston, was in Brussels for the Forum For The Future Of Agriculture.
Simon, who runs online farming discussion forum Agrichat, said: “Didn’t see or hear anything, thankfully nowhere near and not affected.
“City obviously on high security alert and people are glad to be reassuring loved ones.”
Several MEPs were in Brussels as the attacks took place.
Paul Nuttall said: “These incidents highlight the dangerous times in which we live but we must not be cowed down by these attacks on our society.”
Theresa Griffin said it was “a very difficult and surreal day” and praised the efforts of the emergency services.
Julie Ward said: “There are few words that can adequately convey the sorrow we feel for the victims of these attacks and their loved ones.”
The police presence was stepped up at Manchester Airport. One flight left for Brussels at 6.15am, but all other flights were cancelled.