BRUSSELS – Following two explosions at Brussels Airport at 8 AM March 22 and one at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels an hour later, the threat level from the terrorist attack has increased to the level four – a serious and immanent threat. The explosions have occurred in the departures hall, Brussels Airport reported. All public transport has been suspended for a day, the Brussels airport closed and the public has been advised to avoid airport surrounding areas and other public places.

The explosions at the Brussels airport resulted in fourteen deaths and 106 injuries, while a further attack at Maelbeek metro station – in 20 deaths and at least 100 injuries. Four British nationals were injured and one is missing.

The passenger flights are not expected to resume until March 29. Until then, identity checks and the assessment of the damage to the airport will be assessed. The Brussels Airport company is currently working on implementing new security measures. Brussels Airport is one of the largest airports in Europe, handling 23.5 million passengers and 489,000 tonnes of freight annually.

EU Heads of State or Government have commented on the attacks by saying:“The European Union and its Member States stand firm with Belgium in solidarity and are determined to face this threat together with all necessary means. This latest attack only strengthens our resolve to defend European values and tolerance from the attacks of the intolerant.”

Daesh has claimed the responsibility for the attacks. UK Home Secretary, Theresa May said during the last year, there have been 14 terrorist attacks in Europe. Moreover, in the last 18 months, there were seven disrupted terrorist plots towards the UK. All these plots were “linked to, or inspired by, Daesh and its propaganda.”

Global Terrorism Database has previously registered two terrorist attacks in Brussels. The most recent terrorist incident happened nearly two years ago on the 24 May 2014.  At that time, four people were shot at the Jewish Museum, Mehdi Nenmouche, an Islamic extremist and the former Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIl) member who had recently returned from Syria, claimed responsibility for the attack.

An earlier attack on the December 3, 2012 involved a man throwing a fire-bomb at the Rida Islamic Centre. That attack left one person dead and one injured. The perpetrator, a Sunni, stated that he attacked the Shiite mosque as he believed that Shiites were responsible for the ongoing violence in Syria.

However, the last reported terrorist incidence in the airport in Brussels dates back to April 6, 2003 when the Oostende Airport had received the envelopes filled with diphenylamine chloroarsine. However, no casualties were reported.

 

 Dimona Delvere, Correspondent (Europe)

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