Terror Comes to Brussels

Posted on April 18, 2016 by

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On 22 March 2016, the day began just as any other day in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. But, as men and women arrived from a multitude of countries on planes, a malevolent force lurked on and beneath the ground.  This malevolent force came in the form of five Islamic extremists, of which three have been identified.

The identities of the perpetrators are Ibrahim El Bakraoui, Najim Laachraoui, and a third unidentified man.  They were the terrorists who attacked the Brussels Airport. In addition to the airport bombing, the Maalbeek Metro Station was attacked by Khalid El Bakraoui and another unidentified male individual.

The bombs claimed the lives of 35 victims instantly (32 innocents and 3 suicide bombers) within the airport and metro station. The injuries related to the incident were over 300, and 62 of those injuries were critical. Belgian officials declared a three-day national mourning period for the victims and their families.

The attack may have been a surprise, but it was expected for ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, to attack in the region. Many believe that March’s attack, the deadliest terrorist attack in Belgian history, may have been stopped before even having the chance to begin, had the Belgian government reacted to the United States’ warning that Ibrahim El Bakraouib was a threat and was on the counter-terrorist watch list.

The amount of homegrown terrorists within Belgium is larger than any other country in Europe. The amount of Belgians estimated to have left Belgium to seek out terrorists organizations in Iraq or Syria is around 440. This, combined with Belgium’s weakness in security and competing intelligence agencies, makes the country of Belgium a hub for local and global jihadists activities.

Posted in: Eric Ebner