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May 25, 2016 / 17 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

Paris Terror Suspect Salah Abdeslam Claims He ‘Didn’t Know’ About Brussels Attack Plan

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

The sole Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist suspect who remained alive after the Nov. 13 Paris massacre, Salah Abdeslam, claims he knew nothing about the plan by an ISIS terror cell to attack the Brussels airport and metro system.

Even though the DNA from one of the killers was found in the same apartment in which he himself stayed for months, until he was taken into custody just four days prior to the Brussels attacks.

But attorney Sven Mary insists that his client, Abdeslam, did not know about the plot to attack Zaventem Airport and the metro system this past Tuesday in Brussels. The casualty numbers following the atrocity are rising: 31 people have been confirmed dead, 300 are wounded, including nearly 70 in critical condition, and several are still missing.

The attorney also told reporters in a briefing on Thursday that Abdeslam no longer plans to fight extradition to France for trial over the Nov. 13 massacre, in which 130 people lost their lives, and hundreds of others were wounded. Mary said his client wants to return there as soon as possible.

Abdeslam refused to cooperate with Belgian authorities Wednesday immediately following the attacks at the airport and metro system. His attorney told Europe 1 Radio he believed Abdeslam “wanted to see me first… I wouldn’t want him to clam up over lots of things. If he stopped talking it would run the risk of more Zaventem and other Bataclans. Perhaps that is what I want to avoid,” The Telegraph reported.

The attorney added that he would petition the investigating magistrate “so that she doesn’t oppose him leaving. He has understood that here is only a small part of the dossier. He wants to explain himself in France – that’s a good thing.”

Hana Levi Julian

Casualty Numbers Rising After Brussels Terror Attacks

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

The number of casualties confirmed in the Brussels terrorist attacks on Tuesday is rising.

So far authorities report that 31 people have been confirmed to have died in the two attacks on the Zaventem Airport and the metro station near European Union headquarters in the city.

In addition, a number of people are reported missing, including a British citizen and a person from India.

At least 300 people were wounded in the two attacks; 150 are still hospitalized, including 61 patients who are critically injured. Four patients are still unidentified, according to The Guardian newspaper.

The two suicide bombers who blew up the departure hall at the airport and the bomber who blew up the metro station are all dead. The Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Israel’s assistance to his Belgian counterpart, Prime Minister Charles Michel, and said the Jewish State had much to offer Belgium in its battle against terrorism.

Hana Levi Julian

UK Anti-Terror Video Advises, ‘Run, Hide and Tell’ [video]

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

The British government is keeping its threat level at ‘severe’ in the wake of Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels — indicating a terrorist attack is highly likely.

To help its citizens, British Prime Minister David Cameron is releasing regular updates via Twitter and other media.

But there is also the special anti-terror video that was created and released by the National Police Chief’s Council in December 2015, in the wake of the November 13 massacre by Da’esh (ISIS) in Paris.

The video advises, “run, hide and tell.” The video tells British citizens to put their mobile phones on silent and plan for an attack at work or in a public place, among other things, according to Sputnik.

“If you hear gunshots, the best option is to evacuate, but only do so if it won’t put you in greater danger. First, consider your route. Act quickly and quietly, leaving your belongings behind. Insist others come with you, but don’t let their indecision slow you down. Once you have identified a safe route, run. Consider your route as you leave. Will it place you in the line of fire? Is it safer to wait for the attacker to move away before you continue? If you can’t move to safety, hide.”

Cameron also chaired a second meeting of the UK government’s emergency COBRA committee (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms), the British crisis management center.

“Let me update you on the #Brussels terrorist attacks,” Cameron tweeted following the second meeting. “Details are still emerging but at least 34 were killed; many others injured. “

The UK has increased border controls and screening; extra police have been deployed, Cameron told media. “The terrorists want to destroy everything our two countries stand for but we will never let them.”

The UK Foreign Office has also dropped its previous warning against travel to Belgium. A cautionary statement urging people to remain “vigilant” and stay away from crowded places was issued by the Foreign Office.

Hana Levi Julian

Brussels Airport Suicide Bombers Named, 1 ISIS Terrorist Named, At Large

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Belgian media have named the two suicide bombers who blew up the departure hall at Zaventem Airport in Brussels on Tuesday.

State broadcaster RTBF reported the two terrorists were brothers, Khalid and Ibrahim El-Bakraoui, both known to the police.

A third suspect, Najim Laachraoui, was also seen on CCTV security footage before the explosions in the airport, and remains at large.

Brussels authorities have asked residents to stay in their homes due to the security situation in the city.

The two brothers were acknowledged as “martyrs” by the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization. The terror group took responsibility for the attacks on the city’s airport and a metro station near the headquarters of the European Union.

At least 30 people died in the attacks and more than 200 others were wounded. Two Israelis who sustained minor wounds and four U.S. citizens who were hospitalized.

Hana Levi Julian

Brussels Police Find Third Bomb, Evacuate Nuclear Plants as ISIS Takes Responsibility for Attack

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Brussels police sappers neutralized a third bomb at Zaventem Airport on Tuesday after two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the departure hall hours earlier. The bomb, filled with nails, was discovered in a security sweep following the attack. It was safely detonated in a controlled explosion by sappers from the city’s bomb squad.

The Amaq news agency affiliated with the Islamic State terrorist organization issued a bulletin Tuesday afternoon claiming that ISIS was responsible for the attacks. The SITE intelligence watchdog group verified the claim.

“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,” it said. “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 Maelbeek metro station.”

It is still not entirely clear how many people were killed and how many wounded at the airport and in the attack at the Brussels metro. Figures vary wildly, depending on the source – even varying between government agencies.

So far the death toll ranges from 10 to 14 dead in the attack at the airport, with between 81 to 100 wounded. In the attack at the Maelbeek metro station, the figures appear more consistent, with the death toll settled at 20; but the number of wounded ranges from 100 to 130.

Three suicide belts packed with explosives were discovered in the airport during the sweep. Also found on the terminal floor after the attack was a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle with ammunition, near the body of one of the terrorists.

“Suspicious objects” were also found in the Maelbeek subway station and near Brussels University, located a bit further away. The bomb squad safely detonated those two as well.

However, the discovery of an additional suspicious package prompted police to re-establish a security cordon at the airport, according to Flemish broadcaster VTM.

Two suspicious packages were also found inside the offices of the National Pensions Office in Brussels, prompting authorities to clear the building, state-run RTBF reported.

Two nuclear power plants were shut down and evacuated by police, but few details were provided about the reason for the move. All but essential staff were evacuated from the nuclear plants in Tihange and Doel under orders by Belgian police, according to a spokesperson from Engie, the French firm that operates the facilities.

The office of Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw confirmed Tuesday night that raids conducted in the northern Brussels suburb of Schaarbeek “led to the discovery of [another] explosive device containing nails, among other things. The investigators have also discovered chemical products and an Islamic State flag,” according to the statement quoted by The Guardian.

The prosecutor told reporters at an earlier news conference there had been a total of three explosions earlier in the day – two at the airport and one in Maelbeek, rather than three at the metro as earlier reported. Two of three men seen in a CCTV photo leaked to European media “very likely” committed the suicide attack, according to Van Leeuw. He also confirmed there is an active manhunt underway for that third individual, seen in the footage at the airport, dressed in white.

The Belgian government received statements of condolence and support from leaders and governments around the world, including Israel, Turkey, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, all of the members of the European Union and NATO, the United States and elsewhere.

“This is a cowardly attack, an attack on our values and on our open societies,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement. “Terrorism will not defeat democracy and take away our freedoms.”

Hana Levi Julian

World Condemnations After Brussels Terror Attack Leaves 34 Dead, 136 Wounded

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

“We are facing a difficult, challenging time and we should face up to this by being united,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said after the attack in a televised news conference. “What we feared, has happened… There are many dead, many injured.”

Officials asked the public for blood donations.

Belgium has raised national security to Level 4, its highest level, in the wake of Tuesday morning’s multi-site terror attacks in Brussels.

According to the Belgian Health Ministry, a total of 34 people were killed and 136 others were wounded in the two explosions at the Brussels international airport and in three explosions on the Brussels metro train system. At the airport, 14 were killed; 20 more were killed in the attacks on the metro, according to Flemish broadcaster VRT.

A Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle was found at the departure lounge following the attack – the same type used by the ISIS terrorists during the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.

Public transportation networks were disrupted throughout Brussels. Security across the European continent has been tightened as well. All flights in and out of Brussels were canceled.

The Belgian Royal Palace was evacuated in response to the attacks, according to state broadcaster RTBF.

Following the incident, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde issued a statement saying they were “Distressed by the odious attacks on Brussels-National and the Brussels metro. Our thoughts are with the victims, families and emergency services.”

Flags at the European Commission — just a few hundred meters away — were lowered. A spokesperson for the commission said Europe was united against terrorism. “We stand together, united against terror and in full solidarity with the people of Brussels,” the statement said.

Israel expressed its support for Belgium as well. “Solidarity with Belgium, the latest victim of the hatred unleashed by Islamic extremism,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon tweeted.

Security experts warned of possible copycat attacks being carried out in other European cities; in response, London and Paris raised their alert levels. In London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt security was tightened.

French President Francoise Hollande condemned what he called the “heinous” attacks, saying it was really Europe that had been targeted. Hollande added the whole world should be concerned, calling the terrorism a “global threat which necessitates a global response.” At Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris armed guards and other military personnel boosted security there and at other borders.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK would do all it could to assist Belgium in the crisis, as London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports bristled with upgraded security. “I am shocked and concerned by the events in Brussels,” Cameron tweeted shortly after the news broke. “We will do everything we can to help.” The British prime minister is set to meet Tuesday evening with the counter terror Cobra committee.

The countries of Europe need to “stand together “ against terror, Cameron said. “We face a very real terrorist threat right across the different countries of Europe and we have to meet that with everything we have.” A united front is needed “against these appalling terrorists to make sure they can never win,” he added.

The British prime minister spoke with his Belgian counterpart to offer condolences and security support. The UK threat level, meanwhile, remains at “severe,” meaning an attack is assessed to be highly likely, according to The Guardian news site. Additional police officers have been deployed around London.

Condemnations of the attack and statements of condolence poured in from around the world, including from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.

CNN bureau anchor Max Foster in London was blunt in pointing out that the terror group was carrying out its declared intention to conduct a jihad against Western civilization – beginning with Europe.

The attack on a major European city was not unexpected, Foster said; the head of counter terror in London was “expecting it at some point.” This might be it, Foster said, “some big spectacular attack in multiple locations on a European city.” It could be anywhere.

“This is an attack on Western lifestyle now,” Foster said. “It’s not the lone wolf radicalized online that we’ve been hearing so much about in the past.” This is something else, he pointed out. It’s a military-style operation – trained attackers with a strategy.

Hana Levi Julian

11 Dead in Suicide Bombing at Belgium Airport, 15 Dead in Train Attack [video]

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

At least 11 people were killed and 35 were wounded in a twin terror attack at 8 am Tuesday morning in the departure hall of Zaventem Airport in Brussels. Another 15 people were killed and 55 wounded in the related metro attack.

Three suicide belts packed with explosives were found by police at the airport, according to local television news reports quoted by Sputnik. A suicide bomber was responsible for one of the blasts, Belgian broadcaster VRT reported.

Several Israelis were in the airport at the time of the explosion but all managed to exit safely with other travelers.

Map of Zaventem Airport in Brussels at time of explosions.

Map of Zaventem Airport in Brussels at time of explosions.

Two explosions were heard at the airport, coming just four days after Salah Abdeslam, the mastermind of the Nov. 13 ISIS attack on Paris, was captured in Brussels.

A United Hatzolah volunteer was at the Brussels airport at the time of the explosions. He described the scene: “At the time of the explosion I was praying at the synagogue in the airport. We felt the explosion. We exited the synagogue in order to see what was happening and we joined the stream of people who were being ushered by police to exit the terminal.

People at the scene said they heard gunshots and screaming in Arabic before the attack, according to media reports.
All airports in the country were shut down pending further developments.

Three explosions tore apart trains at separate locations on the Brussels metro system about a half hour after the initial attack at Zaventem Airport. Due to the obvious risk, the Brussels metro system was shut down and the country’s security leaders activated Level 4, the nation’s highest alert.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/11-dead-in-terror-attack-at-belgium-airport/2016/03/22/

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