Dozen Americans injured in Brussels attacks: US official

23rd March 2016, Comments 0 comments

A dozen Americans were wounded in the Brussels attacks and "a number" remain unaccounted for including US government employees, the State Department said Wednesday.

No Americans were immediately known to have been among the 31 killed in Tuesday's bomb blasts at Brussels airport and a metro train, but State deputy spokesman Mark Toner cautioned the situation remained "very fluid" and there were growing fears about those who had not been heard from.

Three Mormon missionaries from the United States and a US Air Force member were reported among the 270 people wounded.

His statement came as US Vice President Joe Biden declared that Belgium will prevail over terrorism -- the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the triple bomb attack -- hailing the "incredible courage" of its people.

"At this time we are aware of approximately a dozen US citizens injured in the attacks," Toner said, adding: "We are not aware of any US citizen deaths.

"We must emphasize that a number of US citizens remain unaccounted for and the Kingdom of Belgium has not yet released nationality information for reported fatalities."

He said that Washington was making its own efforts to account for American citizens in Brussels, which hosts the headquarters of NATO and the European Union.

Toner separately told reporters that there were so many Americans either working in Belgium or visiting that it was impossible to give an accurate figure for the number unaccounted for.

"We try to go through that list to try and identify the whereabouts of folks but we're constantly adding to that list as loved ones or family call in to say that they haven't reached or been able to contact someone," he said.

The United States has three diplomatic missions in the city -- its embassy, another for NATO, and one to the EU.

US government personnel or their family members were among the Americans in Belgium unaccounted for, Toner said.

Signing a book of condolence at the Belgian embassy in Washington, Biden paid tribute to the people of Brussels.

"They have backbones like ramrods. Look at them: they're going to school, they're not letting terrorism win.

"We are prepared to provide any and all information capability, technology, anything we have that can be value added to their fight, and they will prevail."


© 2016 AFP

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