Brussels attack on Tuesday, ISIS claimed to strike yet again on European soil, saying its “fighters” launched attacks on the airport and a subway station in Belgium’s capital that killed at least 30 people and wounded about 230 more.
While jarring, the carnage wasn’t altogether surprising. Belgium has been going after terrorist threats for months, as illustrated by last week’s capture of Europe’s most wanted man, Salah Abdeslam, in a bloody raid in a Brussels attack.
“We were fearing terrorist attacks,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters Tuesday. “And that has now happened.”
A Belgian government representative told CNN that 20 people died at the Maelbeek metro station and 130 were wounded, plus 10 more were killed and 100 wounded at the Brussels attack at the international airport.
The “working assumption” is that the attackers came from the network behind November’s massacres in Paris, which left 130 dead, Belgian security sources said, while cautioning it is very early in the latest investigation.
After Tuesday’s Brussels attack, Belgian state broadcaster RTBF reported that Belgian authorities carried out midday raids in a search for people linked to the attacks. Several witnesses told news agency they’d seen police special forces combing through the northeast Brussels neighborhood of Schaerbeek, cordoning off a train station there.
Belgian police released a notice that includes a photograph of a suspect “wanted (for) terrorism” and asks the public, “Who recognizes this man?”
Federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said the man is one of three shown in surveillance images pushing airport luggage carts alongside each other. Two of them “probably carried out suicide attacks,” he said, while the third — the one in light clothing, glasses and a hat — “is actively being searched for.”