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Airman, family injured in Brussels bombings

At the residence of the U.S. chief of mission in Havana, President Barack Obama and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice receive an update via telephone from Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco on the terrorist attacks in Brussels, March 22, 2016. (White House photo/Pete Souza)

At the residence of the U.S. chief of mission in Havana, President Barack Obama and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice receive an update via telephone from Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco on the terrorist attacks in Brussels, March 22, 2016. (White House photo/Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- A U.S. Airman from Joint Force Command Brunssum in the Netherlands and members of the Airman’s family were injured in an attack at the Brussels airport March 22, Air Force officials confirmed.

"We are saddened by today's attacks and extend our sincere condolences to the victims and families of those impacted," said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. "Our priority at this time is the safety and well-being of our Airmen and their families."

More than 30 people were killed and hundreds more injured as a result of attacks at the airport and a metro station, according to Belgian officials.

The Airman’s and family members’ names and the nature of their injuries have not yet been released.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our Air Force family, and with the hundreds of others affected by these tragic events," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.

Support to Belgium


President Barack Obama condemned the attacks during a speech from Havana.

“We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible,” Obama said. “And this is yet another reminder that the world must unite. We must be together, regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.”

During testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said U.S. officials are accounting for all personnel assigned in Europe. He added that the U.S. will provide whatever assistance Belgium needs.

“Brussels is an international city that has been host to NATO and the European Union for decades,” Carter said. “Together, we must and we will continue to do everything we can to protect our homelands and defeat terrorists wherever they threaten us. No attack can shake our resolve to accelerate the defeat of (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).”

Accountability

European Command is working with subordinate commands to account for all service members -- including those on pre-approved leave.

“We are also working closely with our interagency partners and host nation counterparts to determine the appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of all U.S. personnel,” defense officials said. “Consistent with the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, due to the heightened threat environment, U.S. citizens are urged to remain vigilant and aware of the local security situation, to follow local authority instructions and to monitor local media for further developments.”

(Jim Garamone contributed to this article)

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