Suicide bombers detonated explosives in Brussels, Belgium this morning around 8 A.M. local time. Two bombs went off at the Zaventem international airport and one at the Maelbeek metro station. 36 people were killed and 150 were wounded in the attacks. Authorities are now launching a massive hunt for the one accomplice who is still alive and at large.
It seems like just yesterday we were writing to you about similar attacks in Paris, Ankara, Istanbul and, like several of those, the Belgium attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State. The Amaq News Agency, a news organization affiliated with the extremist group, claimed ownership of the attacks shortly after they occurred.
Despite planning and learning from other European countries’ response to terror attacks on their soil, Belgium was caught off-guard by the attacks. This was the single most violent day in the small country since World War II.
“What we feared has happened,” said Charles Michel, Belgium’s Prime Minister. “This is a black moment for our country.”
Since the explosions detonated this morning, ENGIE, the French electric company that runs the Tihange nuclear plant roughly 50 miles southeast of Brussels, has shut the power plant down and evacuated most of the staff there. All transit and shopping centers have also been closed for the day. Flights in and out of the country have also been canceled.
Police are now searching for the one remaining person they believe is partially responsible for the attacks. Local authorities have been taking terror threats very seriously over the past several months, raiding homes in search of suspects and evidence. It was only a few days ago that investigators apprehended Salah Abdeslam, a suspected believed to have been part of the November 2015 Paris attacks. A raid today revealed a nail bomb, chemical products, and an ISIS flag in a house search.
It is believed that those responsible for today’s attacks are part of a terror network, the same that was behind the Paris bombings which killed 130 people.
“To those who have chosen to be barbarous enemies of freedom, democracy, and fundamental values, we remain united as one,” Michel said. “We are determined to defend our freedoms and to protect our liberties.”