Australia condemns Belgian attacks

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australians are in solidarity with the people of Belgium following terror attacks that have killed at least 26 people in Brussels.


“Deeply concerned by the attacks in Brussels. Australians’ thoughts, prayers & solidarity are with the people of Belgium,” he tweeted after Tuesday’s attacks at the city’s airport and a metro station.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop condemned the attacks and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was urgently seeking to determine whether any Australians had been caught up in them.

“We have upgraded our travel advice for Belgium to advise Australian travellers to reconsider their need to travel,” she said in a statement from Indonesia.

“Australians in Brussels should remain attentive to their surroundings, avoid affected areas and follow the instructions of local authorities.”

Ms Bishop said she had spoken to Australia’s ambassador in Brussels, Mark Higgie, for an assessment of the situation and confirmation embassy staff and their families were safe.

Brussels has been put into lockdown following the attacks which reportedly killed at least 26 people and injured many more.

Australian exchange student Mia Egerton-Warburton, who flew into Brussels on Monday night, said her group had been warned to stay indoors and that all public transport had been shut down.

“We’re feeling a bit shocked, confused and wary of possible further attacks,” the 20-year-old told AAP.

“To give you an insight into how tense it is, a car alarm just went off in the street outside our room and literally everyone was looking out their windows. People stopped walking.”

The University of Western Australia student said her group’s plans for sightseeing had been cancelled and they would now leave Brussels on Wednesday.

“All our families are pretty panicked, basically telling us to get out of Belgium,” Ms Egerton-Warburton said.

“We are too scared to go to the grocery store at the moment, so we are basically stuck inside hungry.”

Ms Bishop said any Australians who had concerns for the welfare of family and friends in the region should contact them directly or if unable to do so, call DFAT’s 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 or +61 2 6261 3305 if calling from overseas.