At least 28 people are dead in what appears to be coordinated terror attacks timed during rush hour in Brussels, Belgium. Authorities say 13 people were killed in an attack at the city’s busy international airport, while another 15 died in an explosion aboard a crowded Metro subway train.
“What we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks,” said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.
ISIS, or the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying its “fighters” launched attacks on the airport and a subway station in Belgium’s capital. The “working assumption,” a source told CNN, is that the Islamic terrorists came from the same network that was behind November’s massacres in Paris, which left 130 dead.
Twitter accounts linked to ISIS are cheering the act of jihad under the hastag #BelgiumOnFire. Islamist State accounts used a similiar hashtag following the attacks in France. Sources tell PPD that the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the Islamic State militant behind the Paris terror attacks in November, accelerated an already existing plot.
“Mosul revenge for Kufur capitol Brussels,” an ISIS-affiliated group posted on Twitter.
Unlike the response to previous Islamic terror attacks, the bombings at Zaventem Airport and the metro station in the heavily Muslim section of Maelbeek were almost immediately confirmed as such. The attack at the airport was reportedly accompanied by shouts in Arabic and gunfire, as were others, but media reports claimed the events without hesitation.
The first two explosions rocked the departure hall at the Brussels airport shortly after 8 a.m. local time. Moments later at the Metro station, a second explosion was reported on a train that was stopped at the Maelbeek subway station, not far from the headquarters of the European Union.
The terrorist attacks in the capitol of the European Union are no doubt going to give rise to new criticism of refugees from Muslim nations where terrorist groups are prevalent. So far, Europe has taken in more than a million refugees, with Germany being the largest receiver nation. That has now led to push back from the public in the wake of attacks and mistreatment of women, including widespread sexual assaults. Unsurprisingly, terror groups including the Islamic State have said they are infiltrating the wave of migrants.
After the attacks, Belgian state broadcaster RTBF reported that Belgian authorities carried out midday raids, while multiple witnesses told CNN they’d seen police special forces combing through the northeast Brussels neighborhood of Schaerbeek, cordoning off a train station there.