Brussels Mourns While Police Round Up Terror Suspects


Brussels mourns the victims of the terrorist attacks that occurred on March 22, 2016, as the police are searching to round up suspects. Belgium law enforcement charged four more people on April 9. NPR reported 32 died and more than 300 people were injured in attacks at Zaventem Airport and Brussels subway. Osama Krayem, Herve B.M., Bilal E.M. and Mohamed Abrini have all been charged for their participation in the devastating attacks.

Early on the morning of March 22, an ear-shattering explosion ripped through Zaventem Airport. A few hours later, another blast tore apart a subway train. Emergency crews responded to the ghastly scenes and went to work. Body counts started to rise as officials began identifying the dead. In the attacks of international proportions, victims hailed from all over the world. Stephanie and Justin Shults, an American couple living in Brussels, at the time, were among the innocent lives taken that day.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the atrocities. They stated men in suicide vests entered both areas and detonated their devices. Five terrorists split into two groups. A group of three carried out the attack at Zaventem Airport. The second group detonated a bomb in Brussels’ subway system.

The two el-Bakraoui brothers were both killed in the explosions. One at Zaventem Airport and the other in the subway car. Najim Laachraoui was among the airport bombers and killed in the blast. Two of the five men walked away from the attacks. One suspect was caught on surveillance cameras at the airport but could not be identified.

Brussels mourned in the aftermath of this tragedy while police were tasked with rounding up any terror suspects involved. As a result of their efforts, Belgian officials arrested and charged four additional people for their involvement in the atrocities.

USA Today claimed Belgian media sources identified one of the men. Osama Krayem was arrested on April 9. Krayem is a Swedish national and the son of Syrian exiles. The Local SE reported he was an idle kid who drank and smoked from a young age.

Magnus Rainstorm, of the Swedish National Defence College, said, “[Krayem is a product of a] now classic cocktail of social marginalisation, ideological radicalisation, [and criminality].” The Local SE reported many of his friends and family thought he was a normal guy despite his drinking and smoking. Krayem cleaned up his life and worked at his local recreation center in its job training program. Suddenly he quit and moved to Syria where he could wage war with jihadists.

The Federal Prosecution Office of Belgium stated another suspect, Abrini, had been arrested. During a police raid, officials found Abrini and took him into custody. He is believed to also have links to the Nov. 13, 2015, Paris attacks. On April 8, 2016, Belgian prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt told reporters that investigators were uncertain whether Abrini was the man seen on the surveillance tapes.

Belgian officials have identified two others in connection with the bombings; Herve B.M. and Bilal E.M. have been arrested. Once investigators have fully vetted the suspects, more information will be available.

The Washington Post interviewed a TSA official, Peter Neffenger, about an American response to these attacks. He told reporters people travelling should expect increased security in airports around the country. Neffenger said the Senate voted to intensify screenings of airport staff on April 8. Provisions of the vote included doubling TSA vipers, a group who search suspicious suspects in airports and doubling the number of TSA’s bomb-sniffing dogs.

The terrorist attacks on March 22, left the city of Brussels in mourning and police began searching for and rounding up any suspects as fast as possible. They have been successful in arresting four assailants. Belgian investigators are searching for more evidence on anyone who was possibly involved. Prosecutors have filed charges against the four men now in custody.

By Harrison Baker
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne


BBC News: Brussels explosions: What we know about airport and metro attacks
CNN: Brussels attacks suspects: What we know
The Local SE:‘Idle’ Swede charged with Brussels terrorist murders
NPR: The Victims Of The Brussels Attacks: What We Know
The Washington Post: Brussels airport bombings bring new security measures in U.S.
USA Today: 4 charged with ‘terrorist murder’ for Brussels attacks.

Image Courtesy of Nurettin Mert AYDIN’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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