A string of terrorist attacks struck Brussels yesterday morning, killing 34 people and injuring
nearly 200. The initial blasts tore through Brussels Airport shortly after 8:00 a.m. local
According to eyewitnesses, the first explosion occurred at the baggage payment order in the
departures area of the airport, and the second hit near a Starbucks. CCTV captured footage of the three attackers who authorities alleged carried out the act at Zaventem. Two of the attackers died in the resulting suicide blasts.
Approximately an hour after the airport attacks, a third blast was reported at Maelbeek metro
station, which is located about a half mile from the buildings of the European Parliament.
ISIS has already taken responsibility for the attacks, which came just days after Brussels police arrested Salah Abdeslam, who helped orchestrate November’s Paris terror attacks.
Shortly after 8:00 a.m. CET, two explosions were heard minutes apart in the departure hall of
? Belgian media report that at least 11 people have died and another 81 people have been injured at the Zaventem attacks.
? Eyewitnesses said: “There were fire extinguishers and I was looking for people because the ceiling had fallen on the people and you had to search for the people. There were many deaths.”
? Brussels Airport will remain closed through Wednesday and has canceled all flights.
About an hour after the airport blasts (9:00 am CET), another explosion occurred at Maalbeek Metro station, which is near a number of EU institutions.
? Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur said, “about 20” people had died and another 100 more injured.
? The blast struck the middle carriage of a three-carriage train as it was moving away from
the platform. Alex Brans told the AP: “The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there
was a really loud explosion. It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the
? The incident at Maelbeek station put the city in lockdown, and Brussels residents were
told to remain indoors until the city deemed it safe to leave. The entire Metro system in
Brussels was shut down until stations on the city’s outskirts reopened Tuesday evening.
? In wake of the explosions, the Belgian government placed the whole of Belgium
at a maximum threat level 4, “Very Serious,” with special emphasis on airports, stations and nuclear plants.
What This Tragedy Means for the U.S.
President Obama condemned the “outrageous” attacks: “We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world,” he said from Havana, Cuba.
In wake of the terror attacks, U.S. authorities have tightened security at transportation hubs and landmarks across the country, though, according to a statement by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, there is no evidence of any plot for similar attacks against U.S. targets.
Additionally, the State Department also issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens throughout Europe:
“U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.”
Why you should still go to Brussels—and to Europe
Rethinking your trip after the Brussels attacks? Don’t. Seriously, don’t let a bunch of suicidal maniacs deter your from visiting Brussels or Europe, in general. For starters, countries throughout the EU have increased their police presence. Following the attacks, France closed its border with Belgium. Dutch authorities have announced extra border patrols and additional security at airports in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Eindhoven. London mayor Boris Johnson also announced he’d step up security measures in London, though the capital currently faces no immediate threat.
While the thought of encountering a terrorist attack is terrifying, know the odds of encountering a terrorist attack are slim. From 2001 to 2013, 350 Americans were killed overseas as a result of terrorism.
Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.