From Daily Mail
At least nine Americans, including three Mormon missionaries, a US Air Force officer and five members of his family, have been injured in the Brussels terrorist attacks.
They were among the near 200 people hurt in the suicide bomb blasts in Belgium’s capital that have left at least 34 dead.
The State Department is still trying to confirm whether any other citizens were caught up in the blasts, and expect the number of American casualties to increase.
They have advised any U.S. citizens in Belgium to ‘shelter in place’ and avoid any public transport.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Richard Norby, 66, Joseph Empey, 20, of and Mason Wells, 19, all from Utah, were seriously injured in the explosion at Brussels Airport, where 14 were killed.
The trio had been accompanying a fourth missionary to the terminal building as she prepared to fly back to the United States for an assignment in Ohio.
The US military later confirmed a member of the armed forces and his family were injured in the jihadi-backed attacks. Military officials would not reveal where he was at the time because of privacy concerns.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Richard Norby, 66, (pictured with his wife Pamela) was one of the American Mormon missionaries caught up in the deadly Brussels blasts, it has been revealed. The attacks across the Belgian city have left at least 34 people dead
Mormon missionaries Joseph Empey, 20, of and Mason Wells, 19, were also seriously injured in the blast at Brussels airport
The devastated inside of the terminal building (pictured) at Brussels Airport where 14 people were killed by suicide bombers
Emergency services treat the injured in Maelbeek, the site of the second explosion n the chaotic aftermath of the terrorists attacks
Fifty students from the University of Illinois were in the capital at the time of the attacks, but officials confirmed they were safe.
Four students from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut were also in Brussels at the time of the attacks.
According to the university three were at the airport, but they are all believed to be safe and accounted for.
Sister Fanny Rachel Clain, 20, who was travelling with the three hurt missionaries, had already passed through airport security when the explosions hit, the church said in a statement.
She was also hurt and is now in hospital receiving treatment.
Sebastien Bellin, a Brazilian-born basketball player who used to play for Oakland University, was in the airport when one of the bombs went off.
During an interview on Fox News, Ted Cruz said his prayers were with everyone involved in the bombings, but mentioned the missionaries as voters in Utah prepared to vote in their primaries.
The governor of Utah, Gary Herbert praised the three Mormons.
Herbert praised the Utah natives as ‘people of faith who have forsaken everything — family, friends, school and careers — in order to share a message of hope and love with the world.’
Thousands of Utah Mormons have served proselytizing missions around the world. Mormons account for as many as two-thirds of the state’s population.
Belgium Mission President Frederic J. Babin confirmed the three of the missionaries were in the proximity of the explosion when it occurred and have been hospitalized.
The First Presidency of the Church promptly issued a statement this morning in response to the bombings: ‘With much of the world, we awoke this morning to the heartbreaking news of the bombings in Belgium.
‘Our prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured, including three of our missionaries who were injured and hospitalized.
‘We also pray for the people of Belgium and France as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and devastation caused by the recent terrorist attacks.’
Elder Norby is a veteran of the church, having served in the Ivory Coast and as the head of the Orem Utah College 1st Stake.
Elder Wells, a talented high school athlete, moved to Brussels on February 17 when he became companions with Elder Empey.
‘He’s a good hard worker so I’m excited for that, it’ll be good,’ Wells wrote when he learned he was going to be working with Empey.
Wells has been keeping a blog with updates of his activities with the church.
He posted an entry on Monday with his report on what he had been doing in the past week. They had both been working on a mission project with other youngsters in Paris.
Elder Empey’s mother updated friends and supporters on Facebook to assure them that their son has been in contact with them. They revealed he has shrapnel in his ankle and suffered burns.
She wrote on Facebook: ‘Our hearts are broken for all those that lost their lives in the terror attack in Brussels today.
‘We are grateful that Elder Empey and his companion Elder Wells are okay. A Senior missionary and sister missionary were also with them.
‘They were all injured but getting treatment and doing well. Dres will need surgery on a leg wound and does have some shrapnel in his ankles and knee.
‘He has some 2nd degree burns to his hands and head. He has been in contact with us. We would all like to thank you for your love and prayers. Love the Empey Family.’
Elder Empey’s mother updated friends and supporters on Facebook to assure them that their son has been in contact with them. They revealed he has shrapnel in his ankle and suffered burns
The pair (pictured on a boat in Paris just days before the attack) were on assignment in Paris and had was taking a fellow missionary to the airport at the time
President Obama spent under a minute in today’s speech in Cuba addressing the terrorist attacks that happened this morning in Brussels.
Obama said the ‘thoughts and the prayers of the American people’ are with the people of Belgium’ today following the Brussels terrorist attacks that killed at least two dozen people today from Havana.
‘We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people,’ Obama said. ‘We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice whoever is responsible and this is yet another reminder that the world must unite.’
Elder Norby (left) is seriously injured and being treated in hospital. He is a veteran of the church, having served in the Ivory Coast and in senior positions in Utah
‘We must be together – regardless of nationality, or race, or faith – in fighting against the scourge of terrorism,’ the president added. ‘We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.
Donald Trump also commented on the suicide bombings.
‘Do you all remember how beautiful and safe a place Brussels was. Not anymore, it is from a different world! U.S. must be vigilant and smart!’ wrote the Republican front-runner on Twitter.
Trump then said in an interview on Fox News the US needs to ‘shut the borders,’ a statement he repeated later in the morning while appearing on Today.
In that appearance he also told Matt Lauer he is a firm believer in using torture to get information from people behind attacks like the one in Brussels, stating; ‘Waterboarding is fine.’
Police across America have ramped up security at airports, tourist landmarks and mass transit points in the wake of the attacks.
Amid fears the bombings are the actions of coordinated jihadis, Homeland Security have said they are closely monitoring events as police departments and transit authorities step up their anti-terror patrols.
Forces including the NYPD, DC police and Chicago PD have moved to increase their presence at key locations while others have urged residents to be more vigilant and report anything suspicious.
Amtrak also confirmed more officers would be visible at their train stations around the nation.
The Port Authority announced early on Tuesday morning they would be stepping up precautions at New York and New Jersey’s three major airports – La Guardia, JFK and Newark – and will deploy heavy-weapon officers throughout terminal buildings.
Belgium Mission President Frederic J. Babin confirmed the three of the missionaries, including Elder Wells (left) and Elder Emery (right) were in the proximity of the explosion when it occurred. They are both pictured during their trip to France
Anti-terrorist units will also be stationed at the World Trade Center and Grand Central Terminal – America’s busiest train station.
Witnesses in Belgium described seeing ‘dismembered bodies everywhere’ after the blasts hit the American Airlines check-in desk at around 8am (7am GMT).
There were reports that shouts in Arabic were heard before the explosions and shots fired in the aftermath.
Around 90 minutes later, 10 people were killed when an explosion hit a Metro station near the EU headquarters in the city center in another suspected terror attack.
American Airlines confirmed that its planned flight from Brussels to Philadelphia in the US, which had been scheduled to depart at 9.40am had been cancelled in the wake of the blasts.
A spokesman said: ‘We are aware of an incident at the Brussels airport departure hall and are taking care of our customers, employees and contractors. At this time, all of our employees and contractors are accounted for with no reported injuries.
‘American Airlines flight 751 has been cancelled for today. When operations at the airport resume, we will re-accommodate our customers.’