On the 18th of November 2015, the Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud from Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, the suspected mastermind of the attacks in Paris and the instigator of the terrorist cell in Verviers was slain in a major police operation in Saint-Denis. On March 18, 2016 Salah Abdeslam, who was at the blowing at the Stade de France but backed down, was shot in the leg when trying to escape by his arrested in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek.
Tuesday March 22 Brussels, the seat of the European Union, was hit in the morning around 8 am by two deadly explosions that struck the airport and an hour later at the metro system during the rush hour, killing at least 35 people and wounding more than 230.
Though I did not have to work at the airport on Tuesday I had planned to go there for a talk with my employer and the planning service. Before breakfast I received a call from my son’s girlfriend asking if I was all right and safe. She just got to hear the terrible thing that happened a few minutes earlier at the airport. I straight went to switch on the television to follow the event.
The pictures that reached us in our living room, brought are thoughts by my colleagues at work, some which I could see giving orders, meaning they were in ‘good health’. Good some passengers first kept for dead at the first blast, so that they did not get wounded by the second blast.
Some witnesses reported hearing shots fired and shouts in Arabic before the two explosions.
Others said that people fled the first blast, only to get caught in the second.
A third bomb failed to detonate and was destroyed by the security services.
At 9.04 came the official news by Eurocontrol, the European organisation for the safety of air navigation, following the Brussels airport explosions, that the airport was closed until further notice.
At the same time we heard about smoke coming from the underground stations and the Belgian news agency Belga reported that shots were fired and Arabic was shouted before the two explosions at Brussels airport.
The bombs at the airport and Maalbeek station must have been very strong, because several people in the buildings around the disaster places felt the building move.
At the airport soon people were coming out looking very dazed and shocked.
Belgium was already on high alert after a shootout in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek last week in which Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam was captured but now it raised the alarm again at 9.20 am to its highest point, level 4.
Belgian PM Charles Michel tweeted at 8.16:
“The federal government is following the situation closely. Absolute priority goes to the victims and to the aid effort at the airport”
IS clearly wanted to hurt the European Union, damaging it economical centre for free exchange of democratic free thought and travel and the city’s EU institutions. Just after nine blowing up an underground train carriage at Maalbeek, in between Art-Lois and Schuman, the axe of the European institutions.
Prime Minister Charles Michel called the latest attacks “blind, violent and cowardly”, adding:
“This is a day of tragedy, a black day… I would like to call on everyone to show calmness and solidarity”.
Making use in the wrong way was, as usual, the typically outspoken Republican presidential frontrunner, said these attacks were full right the things to expect when states do not close their boarders for foreigners. For him the West is
“having problems with Muslims”
and suggests authorities should surveil mosques and
“study what is going on”.
Do you all remember how beautiful and safe a place Brussels was. Not anymore, it is from a different world! U.S. must be vigilant and smart!
He criticises British Muslims for failing to tackle religious extremism, perhaps because he forgets Brussels is the capital of Belgium, not being a part of Great-Britain. For him it is a big problem the Muslim people not reporting Muslim fanatics. Later he also boasted that he would
I would hit ISIS so hard you wouldn’t believe it and I would get the people over there to put up their soldiers because it’s about time that somebody did it. But I would have such back-up like you’ve never seen before in terms of air power, air strikes etc.
When asked whether upping surveillance could be one course of action in response to attacks over recent months, he responded:
“We have to deal with the mosques whether we like it or not. These attacks are not done by Swedish people. That I can tell you. We have to be smart. We have to be vigilant. We have to watch very closely what’s going on. We have to look at the mosques, we have to study what’s going on.”
For sure we do have to watch what is going on and who is going to become radicalised or willing to go to Syria to be a combatant. Those of who we know became radicalised we better talk to or have some of those fundamentalists we better send to a psychiatric institution to have them checked.
The politicians to be taken more serious showed their feeling with the Belgian population and foreign victims. Again, like in France also Muslims were wounded (and who knows also perhaps killed). Once more some Muslims had to defend their faith and telling the public these attack have nothing to do with true Islam faith.
Brussels remained on virtual lockdown as the Belgian Army took over the streets of the Belgian Capital following the ISIS atrocity. Soldiers carrying weapons at the ready stand guard on street corners and the Central Station as one of the bombers continues to be hunted. Police across the city race to addresses with their blue lights and sirens sounding as Europe once again comes under attack.
At our house we heard nearly all day sirens after siren, making it very unrealistic and strange, giving you to think what it would be at war with those cowards, who managed to create unseen cells which the secret police does not seem to be able to find in time.
When this got published, Belgium has entered its second day of mourning over the terror attacks that shook Europe in which 35 people are known to have died (one Peruvian) and at least 230 – including two Britons – were injured.
We also may not forget that of the wounded many tried to be as fast as possible to be away of the place of terror and though being hurt shall not be counted under the registered victims.
The Belgian police Twitter account also issued the photos showing close-ups of the two men believed to be dead, and asked for information from anyone who recognised them. Two of the men wear at their left hand a black glove in which probably the detonator was hidden. A taxi driver who collected them at a house in Schaarbeek remembered that their were angry because they had ordered a bigger cap but now could not take five suitcases with them, which the taxi-driver was not allowed to handle. After what had happened the cabdriver put two plus two together and warned the police, who went to the place of pick up, were explosives and IS attributes were found.
The three alleged perpetrators of the attack on Zaventem were filmed. One of the men would have left his parcel bomb and is still being sought. Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said the three people captured on camera at the airport were the chief suspects – with two of them “probably committing a suicide attack”.
Last Friday a message was already distributed and the public asked to look out for Najim Laachraoui, who seems now to be the third Brussels airport attacker still at large.
The 25-year-old’s DNA has been found in houses used by the Paris attackers last year, prosecutors said on Monday, and he had travelled to Hungary in September with Paris attacks 27 years old prime suspect Salah Abdeslam (in which 130 people were killed and 368 others were injured)
Last week, Belgian police said they were hunting for the suspected accomplice of Abdeslam. He is believed to have made the suicide vests used in the November attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed at the Bataclan theatre, Stade de France and at restaurants and cafes around the French capital.
- David Cameron understands Britain. That’s why the EU referendum is going his way (telegraph.co.uk)
- The Guardian view on the Brussels EU summit: six things that will still be true tomorrow | Editorial (unreportedtoday.com)
- Friday’s National Newspaper Front Pages (themeshreport.com)
- From Euromaidan to euroscepticism (eurozine.com)
- Holding the EU Together (rinf.com)
- Trust but Verify: Why the European Union should show restraint with Poland (onenewspage.us)
- EU to hold migration summit with Turkey in early March (gazettetimes.com)
- Muslims Outnumber Christians in Capital of European Union Daniel Greenfield (ruthfullyyours.com)
- Mystery as DNA of Europe’s top terror suspect not on discarded suicide vest (telegraph.co.uk)
- Paris ringleader boasted of 90 jihadis in refugee group (thetimes.co.uk)