Live-Blog: The World Reacts to Deadly Brussels Attacks
Read along as Foreign Policy tracks the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Belgium.
Foreign Policy is live-blogging the aftermath of terrorist attacks that rocked the Belgian capital of Brussels on Tuesday morning, killing dozens at the city’s international airport and on its subway system. Read FP’s initial roundup on the attack, which came just four days after the dramatic capture of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam, here.
4:30 p.m. The United States Air Force confirmed to FP Tuesday that one U.S. Air Force service member from Joint Force Command Brunssum in the Netherlands was injured during the attacks at the airport. “The airman’s family was also present and has sustained various injuries,” the statement said. “Due to privacy concerns, we are not releasing the status of their injuries.”
3:40 p.m. At a briefing in Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby refused to offer a specific number of how many Americans were affected by the attacks in Brussels, although he did confirm that Washington was not yet aware of any American deaths.
“There’s estimates, estimates only. And they keep changing. And they go up and they go down, and they have all day,” he said. “And I am simply not going to give out an estimate even that I know is going to be inaccurate in less than an hour from now.”
2:25 p.m. Belgian prosecutors announced that another explosive device complete with nails was found in a search in Belgium. They also said that an Islamic State flag and “chemical products” were found in a raid, though the exact locations of the searches were not immediately available.
1:25 p.m. After taking credit for the attack through its Amaq news agency, the Islamic State issued a formal statement reiterating its role in the attack and threatening other states that are coordinating attacks against the group in its strongholds in the Middle East.
“We promise the Crusader states allied against the Islamic State with dark days, in response to their aggression against the Islamic State, and what is coming is worse and more bitter, Allah permitting,” the statement said, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorist activity online. “Praise be to Allah for His [granting of] security and success.”
1:20 p.m. Belgium’s federal police have issued a wanted statement for a suspect who may be on the run after the Brussels airport bombing.
12:35 p.m. The U.S. European Command confirmed to FP Tuesday that one U.S. service member and his family “were caught up in this tragedy,” according to a statement from a spokesperson. “Due to privacy concerns, we are not releasing the status of their injuries at this time.”
There are approximately 60,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Europe, and the Stuttgart, Germany-based command is working to confirm the whereabouts of all of its troops, including those on leave. “We continue to seek 100 percent accountability from all subordinate commands and units,” the statement read.
12:15 p.m. Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said the attacks in Brussels should prompt an increase in security on the southern border of the United States and in countries “with a significant al Qaeda or ISIS presence.”
“We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” he wrote in a statement Tuesday.
11:25 a.m. The Islamic State has taken credit for the attack in Brussels in a statement published by the Amaq news agency, which is linked to the extremist group. According to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorist activity online, the news agency reported that “Islamic State fighters opened fire inside Zaventem Airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek metro station.”
Brussels has declared three days of mourning over the attacks.
11:15 a.m. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that although there are no credible threats against his city at the moment, there is an increased police presence at bridges, tunnels, and airports on Tuesday. “What the terrorists want is for us to change our ways,” he said. “They want to see us in panic, and we refuse to be afraid. We refuse to change who we are.”
10:55 a.m. The Islamic State has not yet officially taken credit for Tuesday’s attack, but that hasn’t stopped American officials from indirectly assigning blame to the extremist group. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter opened his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday by saying that the United States stands with Brussels and that “no attack can shake our resolve to defeat ISIL,” using an acronym for the Islamic State. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who serves as vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement Tuesday that “the way to prevent attacks like this is to develop good intelligence and always be vigilant.”
“We can and must root out terrorist organizations like ISIL, interrupt plots before they are executed, and protect innocent civilians,” she said.
Belgian French-language daily newspaper La Dernière Heure is reporting that 34 people are confirmed dead, and at least 187 are injured. It also released an exclusive photo it claims could identify suspects in the attack. The photo features three men pushing luggage carts at the airport Tuesday morning. FP could not independently verify the validity of the photo.
10:40 a.m. The White House confirmed that U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone Tuesday morning with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and “reiterated that the United States stands together with the people of Belgium, as well as NATO and the European Union, and once again pledged the full cooperation and support of the United States in our shared commitment to defeat the scourge of terrorism.”
10:20 a.m. Obama condemned the Brussels attacks from Havana on Tuesday morning, where he is on a state visit this week. “We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium to bring to justice those who are responsible,” he said.
FP reporters Paul McLeary and John Hudson contributed to this report.
Photo credit: VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images