2016 Brussels bombings

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Map of Brussels, showing the location of the two bombs

On 22 March 2016, three large explosions happened in the Belgian capital Brussels. Two bombs exploded at Brussels Zaventem Airport and one exploded at Maalbeek metro station. According to the Belgian Health Ministry, there have been at least 31 confirmed deaths and over 250 reported injuries.[1] Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has publicly claimed responsibility for the attack. There are three suspects.[2] Two were suicide bombers and Belgian police are currently searching for the third one.[3]

Background[change | change source]

Belgium is part of the war on ISIL in Iraq.[4] About 500 foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq are Belgian.[5] The fighters mostly come from immigrant families.

Belgium has been under attacks in the past. In May 2014, a gunman attacked the Jewish Museum of Belgium, killing four people.[6] In January 2015, Security men stopped a group maybe planned a second Charlie Hebdo shooting. The operation resulted in the deaths of two members of the group.[7] In August 2015, a man shot and stabbed people on a train in Brussels, before being stopped by passengers.[8]

The attackers that were part of the November 2015 Paris attacks were based in Molenbeek, and the city of Brussels was closed for five days to search for people. On 18 March 2016, Salah Abdeslam, who possibly was part of the Paris attacks, was caught, and at least one other suspect is still free.[9]

Bombing Locations[change | change source]

Brussels Airport[change | change source]

Two explosions took place in the airport's departure hall.

People killed and harmed[change | change source]

At least 31 people were killed and more than 230 others were harmed.[2] Three Americans, Mormon missionaries, were seriously injured, as well as a member of the U.S. military and his family.[10] The U.S. Embassy in Brussels asked U.S. citizens not to use buses and subways.[10]

Brussels suspect on CCTV

ISIS attacked Brussels[change | change source]

Two men used bombs to kill themselves at Brussels Airport. The police is looking for a third man seen with them in CCTV photo from the airport.[1] ISIL said it was behind the attack.

Hours after the attacks, police went into a home in Schaarbeek, a north of Brussels, where they found a nail bomb, chemicals, and an ISIL flag. One man was arrested, but then released.[11]

Maalbeek - Maelbeek station (25684717280)

The attackers[change | change source]

Belgian authorities said two brothers, Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, both Belgians with criminal records — were among the three suicide bombers who attacked the Brussels metro and airport.[12]The brothers are believed to have links to last year’s Paris attacks, and to Salah Abdeslam. There third man who appeared on the cameras is still free after he ran away when his bomb didn't explode.

Europe says "no" to fear[change | change source]

After the attacks in Brussels, European leaders said terror will not scare them.[2] In Belgium, officials declared three days of national mourning. Belgian Prime Minister said that Charles Michel sent a message to the people behind the attacks, saying, "to those who have chosen to be barbarous enemies of freedom, democracy and fundamental values ... we remain united as one."

In its message claiming responsibility, ISIS noted in a twitter post that "What will be coming is worse."

The world is sad[change | change source]

People shared cartoons and showed sadness in black, yellow and red, the colors of the Belgian flag.[13] Others put messages of solidarity with #JeSuisBruxelles, or "I am Brussels," an ode to a similar outpouring with #JeSuisCharlie after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015. Some people invited tourists stuck after the airport was shut into their homes using #OpenHouse.

French cartoonist Jean Plantureux, who goes by Plantu, drew an emotional cartoon for French newspaper Le Monde. A crying person wrapped in a French flag hugs a crying person with a Belgian flag, suggesting solidarity between the two countries.[14]

Mourning people captured during civil service in remembrance of November 2015 Paris attacks victims - Paris, November 14, 2015

People in Brussels and elsewhere brought flowers and lit candles to show how sad they are after the attacks.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Matthew Weaver (22 March 2016). "Brussels Airport explosions – live updates". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Bothelo, Greg (March 22, 2016). "ISIS claims credit for attacks killing 30 in Brussels". CNN. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  3. "Brussels Airport and Subway Attacks Kill at Least 30; ISIS Claims Responsibility".
  4. "Danes send attack planes".
  5. "Fusillade au Musée juif de Bruxelles: un Français arrêté".
  6. "Brussels Jewish Museum killings: Suspect 'admitted attack'".
  7. "Belgian anti-terror raid in Verviers leaves two dead".
  8. "Belgian counterterrorism police kill 2, arrest 1 in Verviers raid".
  9. "Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam shot, arrested in Brussels raid".
  10. 10.0 10.1 "ISIS Claims Responsibility for Deadly Brussels Terror Attack, Suspect Sought". ABC News. ABC. March 22, 2016.
  11. "Brussels attacks live updates: Isis claims responsibility for bombings that have killed 34 as police launch raids".
  12. "Belgian authorities: Brothers carried out Islamic State suicide attacks".
  13. "Search » U.S. Edition+ #prayforbrussels: World mourns with cartoons and open doors".
  14. "solidarity between the two countries".