21st Century Wire says…
Europe has been hit with its most spectacular ‘terror’ attack yet – hitting two types of public transportation targets which will trigger the most fear and trepidation in the minds of the public: an airport terminal and a subway station.
Interestingly, this attack comes just four days after Belgian and French police finally tracked down and arrested the alleged ‘mastermind’ of the Paris Attacks, Salah Abdeslam.
The U.S. embassy in Brussels has also declared a security emergency, and are now instructing all American citizens to “shelter in place.”
As the media coverage spins into overdrive this evening, politicians will feel the pressure to make some very big announcements thereafter.
In the immediate aftermath of the recent Paris Attacks in late 2015, French president Francois Hollande called for temporarily closing down France’s borders, emergency police powers and also for “suspending the constitution” (suspending citizens’ rights). Also, Hollande launched airstrikes against supposed “ISIS targets” in Syria. It was a full-spectrum reaction to Paris. Expect similar announcements from Belgium and EU authorities within the next 24 hours.
Once the dust begins to settle in Brussels, it’s almost 100% certain that a whole new raft of Europe-wide (and possible western-worldwide) security measures will now be rushed into place as a reaction to this latest incident. These will likely include, but are limited to, new police powers of search, seizure and detention, biometric ID systems and other ‘enhanced screening’ measures. Also expect some privacy debate to ensue regarding personal device encryption, or unfettered police access to personal information.
More interesting images, ones we’ve seen before…
According to authorities, here is what they are saying so far…
At least 26 people are dead and more than 100 wounded, after explosions struck Brussels during the Tuesday morning rush hour, Belgian officials say. Two blasts hit the international airport; another struck a metro station. Belgium has issued a Level 4 alert, denoting “serious and imminent attack.”
“What we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said at a midday news conference Tuesday. He added that there were many dead and many injured.
Citing Minister of Social Affairs and Health Maggie De Block, Belgian media say 11 people died at the airport attack. Transit and other officials say 15 people died at the metro station. Those same sources say there were 81 injured at the airport and 55 hurt in the Maelbeek train attack.
— alxdm (@alxdm) March 22, 2016
The number of dead and wounded could rise, as Belgian emergency agencies are focused on responding to those in need. Information is still emerging about this attack, and some reports may later prove inaccurate. Here’s what we know so far:
At Brussels’ Zaventem airport, a suicide attacker struck around 8 a.m. local time, according to a federal prosecutor. The explosions hit near the departure gates, collapsing ceiling panels and shattering glass windows. The blasts sent smoke billowing from the airport and set off a panic as people ran from the airport with whatever they could carry. The facility has now been evacuated and closed.
On a metro train in or near the Maelbeek station, an explosion caused chaos close to the the European Union headquarters. That station is about 7 miles from the airport, in the city’s center. Images of the aftermath of that attack show people running for safety along the tracks through a darkened and smoke-filled tunnel.
Brussels has ordered all its tunnels closed to traffic and the city is under a lockdown. The city’s airport is closed for the day and flights are being rerouted to nearby cities.
To clarify information that went out in an NPR news alert earlier this morning: There have been at least three explosions — two at the airport and one at a train station. An early report suggested there were three explosions on the subway.
Belgium’s Crisis Center is urging citizens not to use the phones, saying the system is saturated.
Brussels has shut down its public transit system. Eurostar train service between London and Brussels has also been suspended…
READ MORE BRUSSELS ATTACKS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Brussels Attacks Files