Three Italians injured in Brussels terror attacks

Three Italians were among over 100 people injured in a blast at Maelbeek metro station in Brussels, close to the European Union headquarters, on Tuesday morning, according to information from the Italian embassy in the Belgian capital.

Three Italians injured in Brussels terror attacks
Emergency staff arrive in the Wetstraat-Rue de la Loi, which was evacuated after a blast at the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels. Photo: Laurie Deiffembacq/Belga/AFP

But they are not on the list of seriously injured people, the embassy said.

Brussels transport authority, La Stib, confirmed that at least 20 people died in the blast at the metro station and over 100 were injured.

The country's health minister said 14 had been killed in the earlier attacks at the city’s international airport, and over 80 injured.

The Isis extremist group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks.

As security was heightened at Italy’s airports and other potential targets, the Foreign Ministry urged Italians in Brussels to “avoid going anywhere at the moment”.

A national security meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, took place on Tuesday afternoon.

Renzi said after the meeting that the attacks “came from within”.

“It is time to say without mincing our words: the attackers came from within the places that were hit – the threat is global but the killers were also local killers,” he was quoted by Ansa as saying. 

Meanwhile, Rome Commissioner and interim mayor, Francesco Paolo Tronca, has announced that a memorial ceremony will be held for the victims of the attacks at Piazza di Campidoglio at 6.55pm.

Palazzo Senatorio, Rome’s city hall, and the Trevi Fountain will also be lit up in the colours of the Belgian flag between 7pm and 11pm. 


Italian police arrest Algerian wanted for alleged IS ties

Police in Milan said on Thursday they had arrested a 37-year-old Algerian man in the subway, later discovering he was wanted for alleged ties to Islamic State.

Italian police arrest Algerian wanted for alleged IS ties

When stopped by police officers for a routine check, the man became “particularly aggressive”, said police in Milan, who added the arrest took place “in recent days”.

He was “repeatedly shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while attempting to grab from his backpack an object that turned out to be a knife with a blade more than 12cm (nearly five inches) long,” they said in a statement.

The man was later found to be wanted by authorities in Algeria, suspected since 2015 of belonging to “Islamic State militias and employed in the Syrian-Iraqi theatre of war,” police said.

Police said the suspect was unknown to Italian authorities.

The man is currently in Milan’s San Vittore prison and awaiting extradition, they added.

Jihadist group IS proclaimed a “caliphate” in 2014 across swathes of Syria and Iraq, launching a reign of terror that continues with hit-and-run attacks and ambushes.