The international community publicly expressed their sorrow at today’s events. The hashtag #PrayForBelgium is trending on Twitter as people around the world share their condolences with the victims of the Brussels airport and underground station bombings.
The three bombs, which exploded during this morning’s rush hour, have so far claimed 28 lives and many more injuries.
The Belgian bishops said in a statement that they were “dismayed” by what is being seen as a coordinated terrorist attack and that they are “entrusting the victims to the prayers of all”.
Messages of support on Twitter included a tweet from Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, who said he was joined in “thought and prayer” with his brothers and sisters in Brussels, and from Cardinal Vincent Nichols who called on God to “convert the heart of evil doers”.
Download Cardinal Nichols’ letter of condolence to the Archbishop of Brussels
Archbishop Justin Welby released a statement condemning the “terrible cruelty and utter separation from all that is of God” and asked every Christian at every church service during Holy Week to pray for those caught up in the tragic events.
Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university based in Cairo, said: “Al-Azhar strongly condemns these terrorist attacks. These heinous crimes violate the tolerant teachings of Islam.
“If the international community does not unite to confront this epidemic, the corrupt will not stop from committing heinous crimes against the innocent.” The Egyptian foreign ministry also condemned the attacks: “The time has come for the world to make a final stand to deal with the phenomenon of international terrorism,” ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement issued in English.
The apostolic nuncio to Belgium, Bishop Giacinto Berloco, said in an interview with the Italian Catholic broadcasting network, Tg2000, that he had informed the Vatican immediately on hearing news of the explosions at Zaventem Airport. The Pope sent a telegram to Archbishop Kesel offering his support and prayers.