Brussels Attacks: World Reactions and More

Belgium’s “black day” represented one of Europe’s darkest hours after multiple explosions killed at least 31 people (CBS News). With Brussels at the heart of the European Union, the attacks served as a further reminder of the constant threat of security and instability Europe is facing with the rise of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). As the world watched in horror, international leaders stepped up to lend their support as their nations paid tribute to the Brussels victims.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of international responses to the attacks, along with some background information and what to expect in the aftermath:

What happened?

Explosions at the departure hall of the Brussels Airport and Maelbeek metro station in central Brussels, not far from the European Union’s core institutions, killed  31 people and wounded more than 230 on Tuesday just before 8 a.m. local time (NY Times). Nationals of 40 countries were part of the casualties.

Almost eight hours after the explosions, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks through its affiliated news agency.

Officials believe Brussels was targeted due to its key role in counterterrorism investigations, including last year’s Paris attacks. Officials are also investigating a neighborhood in Brussels believed to be part of the Islamic State’s recruitment network.

Salah Abdeslam was arrested on Friday and is believed to be the sole survivor of the 10 men who were directly involved in the Paris attacks on Nov. 13, which is believed to be a contributing factor to the timing of these events.

Officials have identified three of the four suspects, and they are the Bakraoui brothers, both Belgian citizens, and Najim Laachraoui, suspected of making the bombs for the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and the carnage in Brussels, according to CBS News.

As of this Friday morning, 10 more suspects have been arrested in Brussels, Paris and Germany as police increase their efforts to prevent further attacks after the Brussels bombings (BBC).

The world mourns for Brussels, prepares for “war”

London, Paris, Rome, New York and other major cities across the world have heightened their security around main transit areas and other central hubs.

International tributes have also spread as mourners united to express their condolences and support to Brussels. Monuments in Paris, New York City and more lit up with the colors of the Brussels flag throughout the week.

“He [Pope Francis] expresses his deepest sympathy to the injured and their families, and all those who are contributing to relief, asking the Lord to bring them comfort and consolation in the ordeal,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said in a statement, the New York Times reported. “The Holy Father again condemns the blind violence that causes so much suffering and implores God for the gift of peace.”

"We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible," President Obama said (CNN). He also added that "This is yet another reminder that the world must unite. We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism."

Meanwhile, many leaders have not only condemned the attacks but have also gone further to say that nations must prepare for warfare.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France said, “We are at war. We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war” (WQAD).

Stay tuned for further updates on the manhunt for suspects and the global rise in efforts to prepare for the worst from the Islamic State.


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