UN chief Ban calls Brussels attacks 'despicable'

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United Nations (United States) (AFP)

UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned Tuesday's deadly attacks in Brussels, calling them "despicable" and demanding that those responsible face justice.

Around 35 people died and more than 200 were injured when a series of blasts ripped through Brussels airport and a metro train during the morning rush hour in the latest attacks to rock Europe.

"The despicable attacks today struck at the heart of Belgium and the center of the European Union," said a statement from Ban's office. "The secretary-general hopes those responsible will be swiftly brought to justice."

Ban extended his "heartfelt condolences" to those affected and expressed his solidarity with the Belgian people and government.

The bloodshed came just four days after the dramatic arrest in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam -- the prime suspect in the Paris terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State group -- after four months on the run.

Ban "is confident that Belgium's and Europe's commitment to human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence will continue to be the true and lasting response to the hatred and violence of which they became a victim today," the UN statement said.