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Brussels attackers used nails, bolts in bombs

Some of the victims of the attacks suffered deep gashes from shattered glass or nails packed in with the explosives

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The ISIS attackers who struck the Brussels airport and a metro station on Tuesday used bombs packed with nails, bolts and glass to kill at least 31 and wound 260, according to authorities.

Medical officials treating the wounded said some victims lost limbs, while others suffered burns or deep gashes from shattered glass or nails packed in with the explosives. Among the most seriously wounded were several children.

“The bomb contained nails to create more victims,” Marc Decramer, a spokesman for a hospital near Brussels, told reporters.

An X-ray released by another hospital showed a bolt lodged in the chest of a survivor.

Shockwaves from the attacks crossed Europe and the Atlantic, prompting heightened security at airports and other sites.

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level, shut the airport through Wednesday and ordered a citywide lockdown, deploying about 500 soldiers onto Brussels' largely empty streets to bolster police checkpoints. France and Belgium both reinforced border security.

A raid on Tuesday evening on a house in the Brussels neighborhood of Schaerbeek “led to the discovery of an explosive device containing among other things nails,” according to federal prosecutors.

Investigators also found chemical products and an Islamic State flag.

On Wednesday, Belgian police arrested Najim Laachraoui, a key suspect in attacks on the Brussels airport. Laachraoui is linked to the prime suspect in the November Paris massacre, Belgian media reported.

Two Belgian media outlets said Laachraoui had been arrested in the Anderlecht district of Brussels, adding that he was the third man pictured in airport CCTV footage alongside two suicide bombers who blew themselves up on Tuesday.

Belgian media earlier said that brothers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui had been identified as two of the bombers who struck the airport and the Maalbeek metro station in Tuesday's Brussels attacks.

(With the Associated Press and AFP)