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March 22, 2016

 
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Repercussions of Brussels Terrorist Attack
 
 
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Authorities are boosting security across Europe in the wake of the terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium. Additional security personnel are being deployed to airports, train stations, and other mass transit sites, likely in response to the targeting of the airport and metro stations in Brussels. Security checks have also been intensified and more patrols deployed along borders.

The heightened security may lead to processing delays at major airports. Similar security precautions will be taken at major rail, metro, and bus stations, as well as on international rail lines. 

A visibly increased security presence is also likely around other potential targets, including bridges and tunnels, major tourist venues, large commercial establishments, government buildings, and major sporting venues. Expect numerous false alarms and hoax bomb threats. Any perceived threat could lead to the evacuation of facilities without warning, intensifying delays; security personnel will likely be especially vigilant in the wake of the suspected Brussels attacks.

The additional security measures are purely precautionary - there is no evidence that an attack is imminent or even in the planning stages.

Advice
Expect increased scrutiny and more thorough bag searches at transport hubs throughout Europe, on buses and trains, and near other potential targets. Allow additional time to clear security at airports. Remain calm and non-confrontational; comply with authorities' instructions.

Background
Multiple bombings target Zaventem Airport (BRU) and metro stations in Brussels, Belgium March 22. Airport operations, public transport suspended.
A massive police operation is ongoing following several attacks in Brussels. At least two suspected suicide bombings occurred in the departure area of the Brussels' Zaventem Airport (BRU) at around 0730, followed by blasts at the Maelbeek and Schuman metro stations in the European quarter of central Brussels at around 0900. Authorities have raised the national threat level to 4 (very high) on a 4-tier scale system, which is likely to trigger a mass police and military mobilization nationwide, especially in Brussels near sensitive sites, including government buildings and main transit hubs.
The following major developments have been reported:

  • Casualties: Reports indicate at least 13 people have been killed and over 35 injured in the attack at BRU, and at least 10 people have been killed in the explosions at the metro stations. The casualty number may increase in the coming hours.

  • Aviation: BRU has been evacuated and all flights suspended. Incoming flights to BRU are being redirected to other airports in Belgium as well as to foreign airports in neighboring countries. Other Belgium airports have remained operations, though high-level disruptions are likely.

  • Metro: Following the explosions at Schuman and Maelbeek metro stations, authorities have evacuated all metro stations. Emergency crews are at the scene to treat the injured. The city transport operator STIB confirmed services on the underground network have been suspended until further notice.

  • Other Public Transport: STIB confirmed bus and tram services have also been suspended city-wide.

  • Rail: Rail traffic between Brussels city center and BRU was suspended immediately after the attack. National rail operator SNCB confirmed all train station in Brussels have also been closed, including Brussels Central, Nord, and Midi.

  • International Rail: Eurostar service on the Brussels route has been suspended, while Thalys services have been completely suspended.

  • Roads: The Brussels Ring Road (E19 and E40) has been cordoned off in the area near BRU. Severe congestion and road closures are likely across Brussels city center areas.

  • Borders: Though no confirmation has been provided as yet, it is possible that Belgium authorities will proceed to close the country's external borders if deemed necessary. If such a measure is implemented, it may not be immediately clear whether travelers will be able to enter or exit the country.

Advice
Consider sheltering in a secure location and avoid public transport stations until it becomes clear no further attacks are imminent. Avoid BRU, including the access roads off the Ring Road, until the authorities deem the area safe. After the airport reopens, prepare for severe flight delays, as flights resume and backlogs are cleared.


 
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The content of this edition of AssistAlert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace further investigation or personal observations. If you are planning travel, or are traveling in or proximate to the locations identified in this newsletter, you are encouraged to contact SecurAssist for additional information.


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