- Death toll hits 34, injured 270
- ISIS claims responsibility
Global condemnation yesterday trailed the terrorist attacks in Belgium. The attacks left no fewer than 34 dead with 230 others wounded, according to the country’s police in its capital, Brussels.
Three attacks on a metro train and at an airport in Belgium’s capital city of Brussels on Tuesday have killed at least 34 people and wounded about 170 more, according to Belgian media.
As the sad news of the development spread across the world, President Muhammadu Buhari alongside his colleague-presidents and heads of governments world over roundly condemned the attacks calling for more vigilance and security. The Islamic State, ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attacks.
According to Belgian police, security footage image believed to be of three suspects in the bombings at the Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train has been retrieved while the authorities are seeking help in identifying one of the men. Authorities further alleged that three bombs were brought into a main airport corridor, but one failed to explode adding that one of the blasts was from a suicide bomber. It added that an hour later around 9am local time, another bomb exploded on a rush-hour subway train near the European Union headquarters.
The tragedy immediately triggered security alerts across western Europe and brought warnings from American officials with multiple U.S. airlines diverting and canceling flights to and from Belgium.
President Buhari in a statement signed by his spokesman, Femi Adesina commiserated with Prime Minister Charles Michel and Belgians over the loss of over 30 lives in the attacks.
“The President assures Prime Minister Michel and the people of Belgium that having suffered the horror and anguish of incessant terrorist attacks over several years, Nigeria stands in full solidarity with them on this day of national pain and trauma.
President Buhari believes that the appalling attack on Brussels reinforces the need for greater international cooperation to effectively confront and destroy global terrorism and its perpetrators.
The President assures the global community that under his leadership, Nigeria will continue to work with other countries of the world to ensure that terrorism never triumphs over free, peaceful and law-abiding nations and people of the world.
He wishes the more than 100 persons injured in the attacks a speedy recovery,” the statement read in part.
Pope Francis condemns blind violence
Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, condemning the “blind violence” of the terrorist attacks, offered prayers to the victims, the injured, their families and all those offering assistance in the aftermath of the bombings.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, sent the Pope’s condolences to Archbishop Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels.
“The Holy Father again condemns the blind violence which causes so much suffering, and he implores from God the gift of peace,” the message said.
The pope “entrusts to God’s mercy those who died and, in prayer, he shares the pain of their loved ones,” the message said. “He expresses his deepest sympathy to the injured and their families, as well as for all those providing assistance, “asking the Lord to give them comfort and consolation amid this ordeal.”
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters the attacks in Brussels would not lead to any changes in Pope Francis’ Holy Week and Easter schedule. Already for the Year of Mercy, especially after the November terrorist attacks in Paris, the Italian police presence at the Vatican has been increased.
Obama, others react
The U.S. will do whatever it can to help Belgium bring to justice those responsible for the terror attacks, President Barack Obama of the United States immediately declared.
Obama urged international unity in the fight against terror after the attacks left at least 34 people dead.
“We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible,” Obama said in brief remarks while in Cuba, where he was making an address to the Cuban people after his administration ended decades of estrangement between the two countries.
The President said that the thoughts and prayers of Americans are with the people of Belgium, “and we stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.”
“This is yet another reminder that the world must unite,” Obama said. “We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.”
Back in Washington, and other major U.S. cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, police and security officials added extra patrols and sweeps at airports, subways and train stations.
“We can and will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world,” Obama said.
Obama called Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel to offer his condolences and reaffirm U.S. support, saying Americans would stand alongside the European Union and NATO in defeating terrorism.
Secretary of State John Kerry also reached out to his counterpart, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, to offer U.S. support for Belgian investigators as they piece together the events leading up to the attacks.
Three American missionaries were seriously injured in the blast, according to a statement from the Church of Latter Day Saints. The three Mormons were serving at a mission in Pars, France, and had been accompanying a fourth missionary on her way to an assignment in Ohio.
The attacks follow the Friday capture in Brussels of Salah Abdelslam, an organizer of the November terror attacks in Paris that targeted cafes, restaurants, a concert hall and stadium, killing 130 people and injuring more than 350.
We did it – ISIS
ISIS claimed responsibility for those attacks, declaring them retaliation for France’s participation in airstrikes against the terror group in Syria and Iraq.
At the time of Abdelslam’s capture, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told the media that Abdelslam was “ready to restart something in Brussels,” that he’d established a new network of people around him and that a large weapons cache had been found.