Brussels attacked by Islamic State


The Brussels Airport in 2008. The airport and metro station were attacked on March 22. 

Michaela Ramm

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for another terrorist attack Tuesday that has killed dozens and injured more than 100, and this attack may be linked to another deadly incident in Paris.

Around 8 a.m. local time, the Belgium capitol of Brussels was rocked by two explosions in the Brussels Airport, located northwest of Brussels in Zaventem.

The explosions took place in the departure lobby of the airport, before the security check-in area. One of the blasts was caused by a suicide bomber.

A third explosion took place in the Maelbeek metro station about an hour later in central Brussels.

At least 31 people were killed in the explosions and nearly 190 have been injured, the Associated Press reported.

An Islamic State affiliated news agency released a statement from the terrorist organization claiming responsibility for the attack, The New York Times reported, which called Belgium “a country participating in the coalition against the Islamic State.”

Belgium officials believe the attacks are retaliation for the recent arrest of Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested in Belgium last Friday. Authorities say he was the only surviving suspect in the Paris attacks that took place in November.

The aftermath

Belgium police have since posted a wanted notice for a man seen on CCTV footage in the airport before the blasts, BBC News reported.

“The police is seeking to identify this man,” the post reads.

The footage pictures the suspects with two other suspects, who authorities say may have died in the bombings, BBC News reported.

Belgium officials have confirmed the third suspect left another bomb at the airport, which didn’t explode, “luckily,” Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told CNN.

A taxi driver who drove three suspects to the airport came forward to authorities after footage of the suspects was released, according to reports from CNN. The driver told the police where he picked up the suspects, prompting the raids that have been taking place in the city, CNN reported.

At 7:30 p.m. local time, Belgium federal prosecutors said authorities have discovered an explosive device containing nails, as well as chemical products and an Islamic State flag, the Associated Press reported.

However, Belgium authorities say it’s not possible to establish links to the airport or metro station attacks at this time.

As of Tuesday evening at press time, the third suspect had not been located.

Reactions around the world

“We were fearing terrorist attacks,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters Tuesday. “And that has now happened.”

“This is a day of tragedy, a black day …,” he added. “I would like to call on everyone to show calmness and solidarity.”

King Philippe of Belgium also issued a statement Tuesday, stating that “in the face of this threat, we will continue to respond, together, with a steady hand, calm and dignity,” The Los Angeles Times reported.

World leaders around the world have since expressed shock and solidarity for Belgium since these attacks.

“We are at war,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the Associated Press after a crisis meeting in Paris. “We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war.”

The Associate Press also reported French President Francois Hollande’s statements: “Terrorists struck Brussels, but it was Europe that was targeted, and it is all the world which is concerned by this.”

During his historic trip to Cuba, President Obama said the United States stood in solidarity with Belgium “in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.”

“We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible,” Obama continued. “And this is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together, regardless of nationality, or race or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.”

Iowa leaders have also expressed their thoughts on the recent attacks. 

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in a statement released Tuesday, offered his condolences to the families of the deceased and wounded and stated that there was “no excuse for the horror our world experienced.”

“We are at war with radical Islamic terrorists because they actively choose to be at war with us, using their faith as an excuse to kill innocent men, women and children,” King said in his statement. “Today, I stand with Brussels in solidarity, and I vow to fight radical Islamic terrorism.”

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also released a statement Tuesday in regard to the attacks, saying the country must “leverage our intelligence capabilities and counterterrorism tools to assist our European partners to prevent further attacks on the West.”