Following Tuesday morning’s wave of coordinated violence in Brussels, authorities have confirmed a “blind” terrorist attack is responsible for three deadly explosions at the Zaventem airport and a subway station. The internet came together with an outpouring of support while struggling to cope with these senseless acts, and last November’s Paris attacks are still fresh on everyone’s mind. Several updates are spilling forth, but folks are not surprised this happened in Brussels, which many outlets, including The Independent, refer to as “a incubator of jihadism.”
Indeed, the eighth Paris suspect, Salah Abdeslam, fled to Brussels after coordinating those Friday the 13th attacks. Five months passed before he was captured last week after an international manhunt. Some have speculated revenge against Abdeslam’s arrest as a motive for the Brussels attacks, but of course, the main motive is sheer terror. ISIS operates on a global level, and the New York Times reports that the Islamic State has claimed responsibility on their official communication channels:
“Islamic State fighters carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices on Tuesday, targeting an airport and a central metro station in the center of the Belgian capital Brussels, a country participating in the coalition against the Islamic State. Islamic State fighters opened fire inside the Zaventem airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek metro station.”
Those on social media may notice how ISIS affiliated Twitter accounts are celebrating the violence, and this time, the search for those responsible may not be too far from home. Brussels in particular seems vulnerable to attacks, and Buzzfeed News has published part of an ongoing investigation, which reveals how — despite years of warnings from counterterrorism experts — Belgium police lack the resources to confront the terror threat:
“We just don’t have the people to watch anything else and, frankly, we don’t have the infrastructure to properly investigate or monitor hundreds of individuals suspected of terror links, as well as pursue the hundreds of open files and investigations we have. It’s literally an impossible situation and, honestly, it’s very grave.”
However, police quickly apprehended two suspects while stating that more are at large. Authorities also released a photo of three suspects spotted earlier at Zaventem airport:
In this Fox News clip, Catherine Herridge explains how the way these men are holding their carts could indicate a one-gloved, “dead man’s switch.” This is a common device used by suicide bombers, and police have already confirmed footage of at least one attacker self-detonating in one of the explosions. The rightmost suspect (the one without a glove) appears to be the main search focus, according to live reports from CNN and Fox News.
In addition, the Associated Press reports that a fresh explosive device (containing nails) has been located during a Brussels search, along with an ISIS flag and “chemical products.”
Here’s a close-up view of the man sought by Belgian authorities.