Brussels terrorist attack has international ramifications

By Madeleine Longwell
Staff Writer

ISIS has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. The explosions —two in Brussels Airport and one in a nearby subway car—killed more than thirty people and injured hundreds of others.

The explosions which happened around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, come just days after officials captured Salah Abdeslam, the last living suspect in November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed more than 100.

Belgium’s prime minster, Charles Michel, called the attacks “blind, violent and cowardly,” at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “We were fearing terrorist attacks, and now that has happened.” Since the attacks Tuesday morning, Belgium’s threat level has been raised.

As news of the attacks broke, leaders from around the world reacted with public statements. In Havana, President Obama condemned the attacks, saying, “We stand in solidarity with [the people of Belgium] in condemning these outrageous attacks on innocent people…this is yet another reminder that the world must unite.”

As violence from Islamic extremist groups has risen in Europe in the past years, many nations accepting refugees from places like Afghanistan and Syria have begun to reconsider and change their policies. As many people look to Europe as an escape from their war-torn countries and the constantly growing threat of ISIS, many Europeans fear open borders and relaxed refugee policies may be contributing to the growing population of ISIS operatives.

In France, 1600 extra officers were ordered to patrol French borders, train stations and airports after Tuesday morning. “Through the Brussels attacks, the whole of Europe is hit,” said President François Hollande.

The German state bordering Belgium increased its border security as well after news of the attacks broke. In a statement Tuesday morning, the state’s interior minister Ralf Jäger made a statement regarding the heightened security that many believed was shockingly critical of Belgium’s security policies.

Jäger said the organization required to pull off such an attack suggested the formation of a cell: “It is easier to find such cells than radical lone actors… and that is what is frightening, that such a cell could not be discovered.”

For many European officials, Belgium seemed like the likely next target for ISIS operatives—Prime Minister Michel had noted, “we were fearing terrorist attacks,” in his statement Tuesday morning. Since the attacks in Paris in November, Belgium has increased its police presence in area across Brussels and has actively been searching and investigating any threat or suspected threat.

As European nations once again increase their security in response to terrorist threats, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton also spoke Tuesday afternoon about security measures taken within the city.

“This is something we are continually modifying,” Bratton said.

At that same news conference, Diego Rodriguez, assistant director of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD spoke more specifically about security measures being taken. In the future more police attention and security will be focused on the city’s subway system and major landmarks and tourist destinations.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the conference Tuesday as well, suggesting the best way to fight increasing terrorist threats and violence around the world is by continuing with day-to-day activities as normal, “we answer them with life, we answer them with a strong and vibrant society.”