Thursday 29 September 2016

Five things we know in the aftermath of the Brussels attacks

Published 23/03/2016 | 08:18

Blown out windows are seen at Zaventem Airport in Brussels after coordinated bomb attacks on the airport and the Metro system brought terror to the Belgian capital.. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Blown out windows are seen at Zaventem Airport in Brussels after coordinated bomb attacks on the airport and the Metro system brought terror to the Belgian capital.. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
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1) Manhunt still on for world's most wanted man

The prime suspect in the Brussels bombings, Najim Laachraoui, is still at large following earlier reports that he had been arrested in the city's Anderlecht district. Local media said another person had been arrested and that the man detained had been misidentified.

Police and prosecutors have been declining all comment but will hold a news conference at noon GMT.

The Isil commander made the suicide bombs used in last November's Paris Terror Attacks. He had recently traveled to Hungary with captured prime suspect Salah Abdeslam.

A Belgian national, the former Catholic schoolboy and electromechanics student gave police the slip last year when he returned from Syria. Laachraoui grew up in Schaerbeek in Brussels and had set up at least one bomb-making factory there in the weeks before Paris.

Two suicide bombers who carried out the attacks in Zaventem airport and at the Metro were Brussels residents and brothers Khalid (Metro) and Brahim El Bakraoui (airport) who were known to the police for crime, the RTBF public broadcaster said.

A third man involved in the airport attacks is now being hunted for.

2) Travel safety in (and in and out of) Brussels

Belgium remains on its highest threat level after yesterday's terror attacks. While restrictions on public transport across the country have now been lifted, Belgian citizens have been urged to remain vigilant.  A limited number of metro stations are operating with some lines replaced with an M-bus. Railway stations re-opened yesterday afetrnoon.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is advising Irish citizens to "exercise extreme caution" in Belgium but no restrictions have been placed in travel. Eurostar is operating a normal service today but passengers are asked to allow an hour for check in due to enhanced security.

Brussels Zaventem Airport is to remain closed until at least Thursday night with the situation to be evaluated as the day progresses but Brussels Charleroi is open. All Ryanair flights scheduled to operate to/from Zaventem today will now operate to/from Charleroi. Aer Lingus flights between Dublin and Brussels have been cancelled today.

Adelma Tapia Ruiz has been named as the first victim of the Brussels bombing
Adelma Tapia Ruiz has been named as the first victim of the Brussels bombing
Undated handout photo of an appeal circulated by friends and family concerned about David Dixon, a Briton who has gone missing in the aftermath of the Brussels attacks. Handout/PA Wire

At least 34 people have been killed and over 200 injured in the bomb attacks that hit Zaventem airport and the Metro yesterday morning. Fourteen people are reported to have been killed at the airport and 20 in the explosion on the Metro.

The first victim of the Brussels attacks which killed more than 30 people has been named as mum-of-twins Adelma Tapia Ruiz, 37. A spokeswoman for Peru's foreign ministry, Benilda Babylon, named her as the first confirmed victim of the attacks which struck the Belgian capital on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, friends on social media have been appealing for information on the whereabouts of David Dixon and asking anyone with information to contact his partner Charlotte Sutcliffe.

4) Security in Ireland ramped up for centenary celebrations

The bombing atrocities have forced the gardai to step up their war on terror on two fronts in the run-up to the Easter 1916 commemorative events. Garda Special Branch, and associated units, were already on high alert as they monitored the movements of dissident republicans to prevent any attempt to disrupt the centenary commemorations.

Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Belgian emergency vehicles arrive at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY MONASSETHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers wait, on March 22, 2016 near Brussels airport in Zaventem , following its evacuation after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Flags being put at half mast outside European Commission Credit: Twitter
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers board a bus as they evacuate the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY MONASSETHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers evacuate the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY MONASSETHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters arrive at a security perimeter set near Maalbeek metro station, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNANDEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers evacuate the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY MONASSETHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images
A police officers sets a security perimeter near Maalbeek metro station, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNANDEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
A police officers sets a security perimeter near Maalbeek metro station, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNANDEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
People are evacuated from Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016 after two explosions in a hall of the airport. AFP PHOTO / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUTDIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images
An armed policeman secures the access to the terminal area of the Frankfurt Airport, on March 22, 2016, in Frankfurt, western Germany. AFP PHOTO / DPA / Boris Roessler / Germany OUTBORIS ROESSLER/AFP/Getty Images

The National Security Committee (NSC) met yesterday morning to review the impact of the attacks on security here. The threat level in this jurisdiction remains at moderate level, raised from low to moderate in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris. ecurity measures in place at airports and other possible areas for attack are being reviewed and, where necessary, are being reinforced.

5) International reaction - who is saying what

* "Those b******s' are at it again" - Rugby legend Ronan O Gara

* "A lot of people in the community knew they were going to do it because in their apartment they had bombs all over the floor ... and they didn't report them" - Donald Trump

* "We will never let terrorists win" - David Cameron

* "I think the whole purpose of actions like this, as cowardly as it is directed at civilians seeking to go about their business and lives in Europe...is to sow such fear and to dislodge that kind of life" - President Michael D Higgins

* "The whole of Europe has been hit" - Francois Hollande

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