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Toulouse–Blagnac Airport evacuated in France

23 March 2016 22:59



Toulouse–Blagnac Airport in southern France has been evacuated for security reasons, police say.

The evacuation of the airport started from early Wednesday morning.

Passengers on board planes were also being disembarked.

According to a France TV channel, a suspicious package was the reason for the evacuation.

France Bleu newspaper reported that military and police patrols have been deployed in the airport.

It wrote that troops have arrived to secure the tracks and the area around the airport. They are conducting patrols, with identity checks and vehicle searches.

France had already stepped up security measures in the wake of Tuesday bomb attacks in Brussels that was claimed by the Daesh terrorist group.

Two bombers blew themselves up at the Zaventem airport, killing at least 11 people and injuring over 90 others.

Shortly after the attacks on the airport, another explosion was reported at the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels, where 20 people are thought to have been killed and 106 others injured.

The bombers, believed to be brothers, have been identified as Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, reports say.

Belgian authorities also identified the third suspect as Najim Laachraoui, who is said to be the chief bomb maker. He had fled the scene after the deadly bombings at the airport but according to a report by Belgian newspaper DH was arrested in Brussels’ Anderlecht district on Wednesday.

This still from the Brussels Airport CCTV footage on March 23, 2016 reportedly shows – from left to right – Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, the two brothers who blew themselves up at the airport, and Najim Laachraoui, a third suspect.

French-language TV The RTBF reported that last week, Khalid rented an apartment under a false name in Brussels. Police have found fingerprint of Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the deadly Paris attacks on November 13, 2015, in the apartment.

Abdeslam was arrested in an operation in Brussels on Friday.

The bombings in Brussels have also led to the heightened security elsewhere across the continent.

European police departments have stepped up security measures at their airports, in their capitals and major cities including London, Paris, Vienna and Amsterdam.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Wednesday called on for an “urgent” need to tighten controls on the European Union’s borders.

“There is an urgent need to strengthen the external borders of the European Union,” he told French radio.

He said the EU need to stop people crossing into Europe with false passports, as Daesh has “stolen a large number of passports in Syria.”

Europe is facing a massive flow of refugees who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.

Many blame the support for militants by Western powers and their regional allies for the unprecedented exodus of the refugees from their home countries.

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