18 people are confirmed dead and 150 injured after two commuter trains collided during rush hour near Brussels.

The two trains hit each other near the town of Halle, about 15km southwest of Brussels.

One train was going from Quievrain to Liege and the other from Leuven to Braine-le-Comte.

The crash left several carriages on their side and has caused major rail traffic disruption.

The high-speed line between Brussels and Paris has been suspended for the day. Eurostar has also confirmed that its services to Britain are not running.

Earlier, Belgian public broadcaster VRT had quoted the mayor of Halle as saying that at least 20 people had been killed.

'All the emergency services are there. The most seriously injured are being treated at the scene before being taken to hospital,' said Halle mayor Dirk Pieters.

It has been reported that one of the trains may have ignored a stop signal and many of the victims were found in a first-class carriage, according to witnesses.

Passenger Hambaoui Mounir said: 'The first two carriages were completely squashed. I was in the carriage right behind.

'The train fell to one side, people fell over each other, there was no air and women and children were screaming.'

Aerial footage of the crash site