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Interior Minister: Security tightened at Helsinki airport

Finnish Interior Ministry officials have responded to a series of deadly explosions in the Belgian capital Brussels by stepping up security at Helsinki Airport. The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) says that Finland has not raised its terrorism alert level following the incidents though.

Helsinki Vantaan lentokenttä terminaali 2
Image: Kalevi Rytkölä / Yle

Interior Minister Petteri Orpo said Tuesday that officials had stepped up security at Helsinki Airport, adding that authorities were closely following the situation in Brussels.

This morning Finnish national carrier Finnair diverted its morning flight to Brussels to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The airline had another three flights scheduled to fly between Helsinki and Brussels on Tuesday, however the fate of the afternoon flights remained uncertain Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday evening, Finnair announced that its AY811 and AY812 flights to and from Brussels will be cancelled on Wednesday 23 March.

Authorities in Brussels closed the airport following the strikes, which killed a reported 11 people at the Zaventem Airport and injured a further 35. Another blast had been reported at Maelbeek metro station. More than 30 people were killed in the attacks. Hundreds were hurt, including at least three Finns.

The explosions grounded flights as authorities moved quickly to shut down the airport. Public transportation also ground to a halt following the metro strike.

Supo: No impact on terrorism alert levels in Finland

Finland’s Security Intelligence Service (Supo) said that it was monitoring the situation in Brussels with the assistance of international cooperation and relying on information exchange with its foreign counterparts to stay abreast of the unfolding events.

The organisation added that the blasts in Brussels had so far not prompted Finnish authorities to raise terrorism alert levels.

Meanwhile Foreign Ministry officials called on Finnish citizens in Brussels to avoid public places. The ministry added that it was trying to verify the whereabouts of Finnish passport holders known to be in the city. It called on Finns to file travel notifications and to contact friends or family members to inform them of their whereabouts.

Edit: 5:58pm updates on death toll and flights.

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