Brussels attacks – The aftermath


After the twin attacks on Brussels’ airport and metro station on Tuesday morning (22 March), the death toll stands at 31 confirmed dead, with more than injured.

Key facts:

  • The double attack left 31 dead and 316 remain hospitalised, including 63 in serious condition.
  • The alert level of the terrorist threat has been brought down to 3.
  • Police are looking for a second suspect in connection with the suicide bombing of metro Maelbeek. A man was seen with a big bag next to the kamikaze on CCTV footage.
  • Jan Jambon (Minister of Interior) and Koen Goens (Minister of Justice), under pressure because of Turkey’s allegations that it had earlier signaled Ibrahim El Bakraoui (one of the kamikazes) as a dangerous individual linked to jihadist activities, submitted their resignations to the Prime Minister. Charles Michel has refused them, arguing that present circumstances demand that they both remain in office.
  • The first victim of the attacks has been named – Adelma Tapia Ruiz, a 36-year old Peruvian woman who died at the airport. Names of other victims and some of the pictured survivors have also started to emerge.
  • Contrary to what happened in November, following the Paris attacks, Brussels is not under a lockdown: schools, universities, shopping centers, regional and municipal authorities remain open.
  • Most railway stations in Brussels are open since Wednesday morning, with passengers being systematically searched, and all metro lines and  buses are now running in the Belgian capital, although some stations are not yet served.
  • Zaventem airport will remain closed until Sunday, and all flights are being diverted to other Belgian and international airports.
  • The EU institutions are closed Good Friday and Easter Monday, and reopen on Tuesday.
Matthew Tempest 29/03/201617:06

AFP are reporting that it could be “months” before Brussels airport fully reopeds, following the extensive damage to the departures hall.

A test-run of the temporary measures installed to help passengers check in is being road-tested today (Tuesday) by some 800 airport staff, in the hope that at least some services can be resumed on Wednesday.

Georgi Gotev 29/03/201613:30

Commission deplores the death of Patricia Rizzo

Commission said one of its officials died in the Brussels attacks (at Maalbeek metro station). It’s Patricia Rizzo, 48, who had been working in Brussels for several months for the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA). Three Commission officials are treated for injuries (also victims of the Maalbeek blast). They are recovering. The Commission has no knowledge of victims from other EU institutions.

James Crisp 29/03/201611:43

Charlie Hebdo, a victim of terror itself, has a typically dark take on the attacks. The front page features popular Belgian singer Stromae asking “Papa where are you?”, a reference to one of his hits. Various body parts respond, “I am here”.

Georgi Gotev 29/03/201611:10

Georgi Gotev 29/03/201607:52