Just four months after the well-orchestrated attacks killed 130 people in Paris, ISIS has struck Europe again. This time, the radical Islamic group's target was the beautiful city of Brussels in Belgium. The first explosions rocked the Brussels Airport on Tuesday, March 22 at 8 am local time. The simultaneous attacks, both caused by suicide bombers, occurred close to airline check-in gates and outside security checkpoints for ticketed passengers. According to initial estimates, 11 people lost their lives, while 100 more were injured.
About an hour later, came news of another terrorist attack on a busy subway station located about six miles from the airport. Also carried out by a suicide bomber, it killed 20 people and wounded about 130. Brussels authorities later revealed that there had been a third even bigger bomb left at the Brussels Airport. Fortunately, it failed to detonate and make the already tragic situation, even worse.
Shortly after the attacks, Belgian police released an airport security photo of the three men that they believe are responsible for the airport bombings to see if anyone could identify them. Fortunately, the taxi driver that had transported them to the airport did and provided the authorities with the address of their pick-up location. A search of the building revealed evidence of the assembly of the bombs, and also provided clues about the men responsible for this cowardly act.
Medical records also enabled the authorities to identify that two of the four terrorists were brothers. Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw revealed that Ibrahim El Bakaroui was one of the airport bombers, while his brother Khalid El Bakaroui, was responsible for the blast at the metro station.
Though the other terrorists have yet to be identified, the one in the light-colored suit who is thought to have been carrying the bomb that failed is still alive, and on the run. European police are currently doing everything they can to track him down.
Nobody knows for sure why ISIS chose Brussels as a target. Some speculate that it may be in retaliation for the recent arrest of 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, one of the extremists responsible for the Paris attacks, by the Brussels police. With rumors that there could be additional attacks closer to Easter, all European cities remain on high alert. To remind the people of Brussels that they are not alone in this fight, last night, cities across the globe lit up their landmark structures to reflect the colors of the Belgian flag.
Of course, while Paris and Brussels have caught the world's attention, they are not the only cities under attack by ISIS. In just the past ten days, the extremist group has committed acts of terror in Maiduguri (Nigeria), Mastaba (Yemen), Grand-Bassam (Ivory Coast) as well as the Turkish cities of Ankara and Istanbul.
With world leaders renewing their resolve to unite and do everything they can to protect innocent citizens from these increasingly frequent senseless attacks, things will hopefully get better! Meanwhile, all one can do is remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to authorities. Together we can fight ISIS.
Resources: cnn.com, bbc.com,wsj.com, dhnet.be