tv Your World This Morning Al Jazeera March 22, 2016 7:00am-9:01am EDT
floor, there was a vehicle parked outside. there was a quick mobilization of people. all the stations had been quickly cleared off. the main street that runs down along here is packed full of people now walking. everyone is out of the metro station. so, yes, there is a security presence and they are effective of what they're doing that attack was followed by another explosion in the center of brussels. officials say at least 21 people have been killed the metro system and the airport has been closed. snoop the attacks come four days after salah abdeslam, the main surviving suspect in the paris
attacks was arrested in brussels. authorities announced that they were searching for another suspect identified as a bomb maker we're keeping tabs on what's happening. obama on that trip to cuba right now has been briefed. u.s. officials in close contact with the counterparts in belgium. we go back now to our headquarters in doha for our continued live coverage of the attacks it's just after 11 g.m. f. noon in brussels. i'm taking over from jane dutton as we continue our rolling coverage of the attacks in brussels. this is what we know so far. belgium's prosecutor says a blast at brussels airport was a suicide attack. two explosions went off at the
airport and there has been one explosion on the brussels metro network. according to the civil defense, at least 21 people have been killed, many more injured. the threat level has been raised to 4. that's the highest level. the capital is in lock down and people are told to stay where they are. neighboring countries and the european commission, which is based in brussels, have stepped up their security. 1600 extra police officers have been deployed to the french borders. our correspondent imran khan reports now on the morning's explosions in brussels. >> reporter: this was taken just a few moments after the explosions at brussels at the airport. eyewitnesses say they felt the blasts at the airport.
[[indistinct]] >> reporter: it took place just under 7 g.m. f on a tunnel between the metro stations and the city. belgium in been on high alerts since the arrest in brussels of salah abdeslam. across europe governments are now having crisis meetings. david cameron, the prime minister of the u. k says he is convening a high security meeting. the e.u. and the middle east needed to unite in moments like this. >> europe and its capital are suffering the same pain that this region has known and knows every single day, being it in syria or elsewhere. we are still waiting for more precise news on the dynamics of the attacks in brussels. >> reporter: the french say
they're taking action to prevent further attacks. >> translation: the prime minister and president have reminded during the meeting the determination of france to fight terrorism and that's what we've been doing for some months through the strengthening of the police and the intelligence services and its what we're doing through the rigourous application of the rules of law. the explosion of the airport is said to have taken place at an american airlines check in desk. former f.b.i. agent martin reardon says it could have been a planned attack >> if they had an operation that was in the later stages, they bumped the timeline up and bumped it forward. this could have been the case right here. the two explosions this morning, reports that there may have been other ied or improvised devices
recovered at the airport that did not detonate. this would have been planned not necessarily complex, but it would have been planned. rail services in and to the city have all been cancelled a close yr look at where the developments are unfolding. the first two explosions were at the airport. that's around 12 kilometers north-east of brussels. then about an hour later an explosion at the metro station in the city center. the underground station is close to e.u. buildings, including the european parliament. we are getting some news coming to us from local media sources. that of the number dead, 13 of them were killed at the airport at around 8am local time. another no.15 people were actually killed at the metro station. that's the first time that we've heard of anyone being killed at
the metro station. we had heard earlier there were only a number of casualties. we're hearing that 15 people were killed at the metro station at around 9am local. it was rush hour. this is the scene at that metro station at the moment. it has, of course, been closed. the whom metro system has been shut down. let's speak now via skype, a witness to the attack. tell us what you saw. >> well, i was just arriving in the area. the metro station is quite close to the european building and i was actually 50 metres at the entrance of the european building. i decided to take a small road that is actually parallel to the street, the low street which is where the metro station is. as i was taking the parallel road, police men were running. it was a little chaos there.
ambulance were arriving. so i put myself aside and i just waited there sachlt press was arriving and the police immediately sealed off the area and i stayed there because i was actually blocked. i saw wounded people getting in ambulances, then the firemen arrived. at a certain point in time there was a big alarm and then all police were running away again. it was quite chaotic there it certainly sounds incredibly chaotic. i'm wondering at what point you found out what was going on? >> i was listening to the radio all the time and when i was on the side, i felt something was going on and then i heard on the radio that there was an explosion in the metro 100 metres further down. people listen to the radio when
these things happen. i heard there were explosions were at the airport. so we were following media where did you go after you were able to get out from where you were waiting? >> actually, we have security measures in belgium asking everyone to stay inside. people are following the security measures because the roads were quite okay. there were not too many traffic jams around the area, maybe one kilometer an, and then the roads were empty. people are listening to the security measures, stay in home, stay inside. stuff like that do people feel they're getting enough information from the authorities? >> i do believe, yes. i haven't spoken to too many people yet, but i think we're all used to social media, colleagues, facebook, twitter, that kind of stuff. i got a message from facebook
also asking whether i am safe or not, so people are communicating. the internet ask still up, but the phones have been down for a few hours now-- is still up that goodness for social media otherwise you would feel isolated now >> yes. absolutely. i got a message from my son. he was quite in shock and was happy to hear that i was safe yes. of course. how old is your son and was he told to stay at the school? is everybody being told to stay where they are or being told they should go home? >> so i heard the minister. she is responsible for school and education say on the radio that there is no reason to believe that schools are a target, so no need to get to
pick up kids from school. if i was living in the brussels area i wouldn't listen to that advice. i would get my kids, but i live out of brussels so he was safe at school. the advice is to leave the kids at school just take us back to when you arrived at the metro station, give us an idea of what the scene was like there. it's 8 o'clock in the morning. i imagine it's one of the peak rush hour times. people all over the place. >> well, when i arrived at the scene, i didn't really get to the metro station. it was like 100 metres away from there, but the first thing i saw was people running out of the e.u. building and that's what i started to start the little street which was 50 metres from the metro station. there people are running, there were people running through the park, then the park got sealed off. yes, there was a lot of panicking.
immediately people from medical people were running around, people was actually a bit of chaos and i didn't go not me proceed station. it wasn't because i wanted to keep the roads open. everybody was asked to step aside, stay inside and there was actually quite some there absolutely. we're seeing some pictures. we're going an underground. people walking out. it appears from trains, perhaps, that stopped as soon as they got the alert. everying they have got. i'm just saying a person with a bag and a bunch of flowers on their way to deliver them. people literally stopping in their tracks and it does appear under ground at least that the situation was quite calm. slightly different to what you were saying to above ground
where police and security ambulances wherever where >> i was about 50 metres away from where the police arrived around it was sealed off. there was a lot of policemen, a lot of medical staff. they were running around all the time. even when the firemen arrived there was panic. at a certain time i heard a big alarm and everybody was running away from the scene. i think maybe they thought there was another explosion coming. there was some panic there absolutely. just a few days the paris attack main suspect was arrested in brussels so the city has been on alert. have you been feeling more on alert since then? >> since the arrest since salah abdeslam, no, not really, no
in came completely out of the blue? >> yes. now you mention it, the first day they got him, i saw some military police on bridges to the entrance roads of brussels, but not more than that. i didn't see them for days afterwards and stuff like that thank you very much, indeed for taking the time to talk to us. we appreciate it and i hope you can collect your children soon from school and have everyone safely back at home thank you to for talking to us >> okay. no problem. thank you. bye just a short while ago the belgium prime minister told media that there is no connection at this stage to last week's arrest of the paris attack suspect. >> translation: i have no information to give. we're working in terms of priority to provide support to
the injured, evacuate, deal with the injured and to ensure security in particularly sensitive areas. there have been several explosions. there are people on the run who have escaped. we have no information as yet talking now to our correspondent, paul brennan. he is outside the metro station in brussels. paul, you are probably able to hear the eyewitness isobel there talking about the moments it happened as she was approaching the station, momentary panic as police and security forces and ambulances rushed to the scene. what are you hearing and seeing there now? >> we just arrived. the police have pushed us about a block and a half, two two blocks away. the station itself is over the top of the building behind me. right next to some police tape here which means we can't get any closer. there is a lot of police
activity. we see a red cross ambulance going into the cordoned area. also police officers with balance carly fiorina clav as-- balaclavas and cars whizzing around the area. there is clearly a huge police investigation going on. the operation as far as the victims go, the casualties is starting to climb because the latest we have had is from the metro operators have said 15 people dead and 10 critical kally wounded. we will wait and have official confirmation from the authorities, prosecutor and police. that's what the operator is saying. the toll from this is rising we are hearing 15 people from local media sources being
killed in that metro attack. i don't suppose that you're able, from where you are, to be getting any confirmation or, indeed, you're hearing the same number. >> reporter: no. as i say, what we're hearing is what is being pushed out by official sources. individual witnesses, of course, have their own perspectives, but not the overview of the matter. the numbers definitive numbers can only come from the authorities. such is the state of flux that there is here in central brussels here this morning, it is difficult for them to collate all the information. the ambulances that we have seen another one go into the area behind me. the operation is continuing. there's a huge amount of nervousness here. there was another explosion which took place on the area. at the time it was feared that that was a follow-up attack.
the tension and the atmosphere here in central brussels here is febrile in the extreme we can just show you some pictures underground of people having just left the trains that had stopped in their tracks and were making their way out of the station. do you know whether the area there is completely cleared? is the station completely evacuated now? >> reporter: as far as i know the area has been evacuated of those who were not involved directly in the explosion itself, but the fact that there are ambulances still going in suggests to me that there are casualties still being treated there. and awaiting evacuation. i don't think the station itself is completely empty. those pictures that we saw of people being walked along the tracks certainly tallies with what we're being told because the confusion at the beginning of this whole incident here in
the center of brussels was whether the incident took place at one station. there was an initial report that two explosions but there was only one at one station. that is the heart of the european union administration. you've got the european commission there, you've also got the ilipsius building and this is the place where senior diplomats, international leaders come and so to have an attack such as this so close to that center of government, center of administration really is quite startling you can't overstate the importance of that location where you are right now. thank you very much for the movement. we will let you go.
we will cross over to the scene of the other explosion in brussels this morning, the first one that took place at around 8am local. this is the scene just moments after that explosion at the airport where we are getting reports from local media of at least 13 people killed in a couple of explosions. two explosions that happened at that airport this morning. our correspondent neave barker is there. he has been for some time. tell us about the scene that is unfolding there behind you. >> reporter: yes, of course. over the course of the morning, over a period of several hours, what we have seen is a steady stream of thousands of people being evacuated from the airport. we're talking about a mixture of travellers arriving here, dragging their luggage along the
streets and staff who were working there tail light the blasts happened. that does appear to be slowing. they have boarded on to buses and have been taken away from this scene. what we have seen too is the rival of more police, including sniffer dogs. we haven't yet seen forensic teams, but we assume because this is now an active crime scene, an active murder scene, that the hard work of gathering evidence, d.n.a., evidence will begin. of course, what we've also seen over the course of the morning in brussels as a whole are comments coming out from the prime minister's office. he has described this as a black day for belgium. it is, of course, only four days since the government were very much breathing a sigh of relief after the arrest of salah abdeslam, but a very, very different scene now you mentioned there that this is now the scene of a murder investigation. what are the investigators
looking for? how does this play out now? >> reporter: from what we gather from eyewitnesses, first of all, the scene that they will encounter is going to be extremely chaotic. according to somebody we spoke to, both the roof and the facade had been heavily, heavily damaged. an awful locality of debris that investigators will have to pour through before they try and establish where the blast happened and before they are able to gather crucial evidence that could give away information about who carried out these attacks. we know from forensic evidence gathered during the paris attacks last november that they were able, despite the chaotic scene there, gather crucial d.n.a. evidence to be able to name an individual, and on monday the belgium prosecutors say that they were looking for a 24-year-old whose d.n.a. was found on explosions in the paris
attacks and that that manhunt was now active. they had also gleaned during an initial round of interviewing were salah abdeslam, who remains in a top-level security prison outside the city of rouge, that he hay have had access to weapons and that he and his associate may too have been planning more attacks here in belgium. so at the moment what we're seeing is really something of a connecting of the dots between evidence that has been gathered during an initial round of interrogation with salah abdeslam, forensic evidence which still needs to be gathered here and at the metro station in central brussels before we get a full sense of what exactly is going on and what exactly that happened here we were speaking to one of the witnesses of the attack at the metro station. she was saying she was getting her news and updates from social media because the phone lines are jammed. are you suffering from the same problems there?
>> reporter: yes. we very much. literally the only fine line that is working is the one that is connected to my ear piece t it has been difficult to receive calls and to make calls. just imagine if you've arrived on a flight from wherever here to the belgium capital and you're trying to get in touch with loved ones who were deeply worried about where you are. the suggestion is, of course, that this is a purely a security measure that by scrambling the airways the authorities are able to avoid the possibility of any other further detonation devices being used. that is a standard precaution in situations like this. imagine if you've arrived there and your family members are trying to wonder exactly how you are, a very difficult situation if you're trying to get a message out absolutely. thank you for that. let's cross over to london and we can join our correspondent
barnaby phillips. first of all, the reaction of the government there. >> reporter: the reaction across europe, as you would expect, has been a cascading series of expressions of sympathy from european governments, but also concern. the british government is holding an emergency security meeting shortly, i believe. the french government has already held a meeting. there are certain practical measures which have already been taken place. this is having an impact on transport across the continent. for example, eurostar, trains are not running from london to brussels, they're not running from paris to brussels, they're not even running to leel in northern western france. there's heightened security at airports and railway stations in paris and london as you would expect. the threat level in the u.k. is not at the highest level, which means that the british
authorities, which certainly wouldn't want to be characterised as complacent, do not believe that an attack is imminent in this country, but, obviously, these are worrying times across europe of course, and it will bring a reminder of the attacks, the july bombings that happened in london. >> reporter: yes. they will remained people of those attacks, perhaps, particularly what seems to have been a bomb in the metro station. the british authorities will also say, look, that was 11 years ago, and they will feel, perhaps, that they do have certain advantages over france and, perhaps, especially belgium. if you talk to the british police they feel that they cooperate better with the intelligence services in this country than their belgium counterparts, and, of course, another advantage is that britain is an island and it isn't part of schengen,
although, of course, the schengen open border is itself under great strain, and that's a moot point what is going to happen to it in the months ahead, but it has been easier for britain to control its borders and less firearms, there have traditionally been less guns in this country. having said all that, i think everybody in britain and across europe would acknowledge that if a group or an individual is absolutely determined to carry out an act of terror in a public place, ultimately, somebody will succeed, no matter how tight security is. that tension is always going to be there in any sort of society barnaby phillips from london. thank you very much, barn de. turning now on-- barnaby. turning now to our guest on set. martin reardon. no matter how much security you have in place, if someone wants
to attack they will always succeed. it is a terrifying thought >> it is terrifying, but it is the absolute truth. in the case of a suicide attack. a suicide bomber is determined. he or she has been prepared for it well in advance. they've made a decision well in advance that they're going to do this. int interestingly with the paris attacks, salah abdeslam was a suicide bomber who changed his mind at the last minute. they are hard to thwart. when you're talking about a soft target, this morning a subway station, an art airport, minimal security there. in the operational, preoperational planning stages, this is what the terrorist cells are looking for, what's an easy target, are there guards there sometim sometimes, they might go there but not if they're there all the time. they will go somewhere else there's a lot of speculation that it comes off the back of salah abdeslam's arrest on friday. do you think this was a cell that was likely to have been
activated following his arrest? >> no. i don't think. i think this was too much to do in just a matter of a few days. in all likelihood this was a cell probably separate from salah abdeslam's cell. this was a sell that was given a mission to identify potential targets and then at your - the timing you choose go ahead and attack those targets. this may have been a case where these targets were planned and the actual suicide bombers were choosen beforehand. they were ready to go and then as a result of the recent arrest, that timeline was pushed up to go quicker. for a simple reason is that once you have arrests, you don't know was your cell compromised, was the police ready to make an arrest on your cell so you move ahead for a quicker timeline for those attacks. certainly they were planned, just because the suicide vest has to be manufactured and the
suicide bomber has to be prepared and the support network involved. this was done well in advance there was a lot of logistics involved. why is this happening in brussels? fment it seems to be leading back to brussels >> i think if you look at brussels, first of all, in terms of foreign fighters, close to 500 bell julys have gone-- belgians have gone. about a quarter of the foreign fighters have returned, well over a thousand have rurpd to europe. belgium, has issues of radicalization. you're looking at an economically stressed area where individuals may feel they have no future, there are no jobs, no educational opportunities, they are disenfranchised maybe not treated the same as other belgians. they are easy targets for a talents recruiter or to be
radicalized martin, for the moment. thanks very much. we will be coming back to you as we continue our rolling coverage in the wake of these attacks in attacks in two explosions went off at the terminal. there's been one explosion at the metro underground network. the network has been closed down. we are hearing now there is as death toll of at least 28 people being killed, many more injured. the metro saying 13 deaths were in the station that took place after 9:00 local in the morning.
people have been totaled to stay where they are, not go home, stay where they are. the capital is closed. france's interior minister is saying 1,600 extra police officers have been deployed to the french borders. steve clemens is a foreign policy analyst and editor for the atlantic magazine and spoke to us earlier from amsterdam after leaving brussels shortly after the blast. >> people knew immediately what had happened. it's very interesting. there's a fragility that happened here since last friday when of course there were the terror raised and saleh abdeslam was captured, and so there's just an awareness here. from everywhere i saw, people were orderly, not screaming, but everyone knew that the police and authorities were firm and
people complied. i feel like i was nowhere near as close as many others were, but given the frustration, given the fact that brussels is now, has bombs going off and they are shutting basic transportation systems everywhere. we are going to take you live to president francois hollande addressing the media. >> my thoughts that pain is shared. terrorism has trouble belgium, but it's europe that was targeted and the whole world is concerned. we must be aware of the extent and the gravity of the terrorist threat. these attacks have occurred after other attacks. paris was particularly specifically targeted in january last year, november last year.
our continent has been -- other continents have been affected. i think of africa and we are faced with a global threat which requires us to act globally. france and belgium are -- share the horror that once again we have just shared and i've been ensured by the belgium government we will be providing all the support, once again, we have to ensure that decisions are coming to force. we must act at the international level. it is what france is doing in
the context of a coalition in the middle east in africa and it is also each of the country's most concerned must take part internationally. we need to conduct this war against terrorism by showing all the necessary vigilance and that is the reason why today the french government has taken measures to strengthen controls at the borders and to have a police and army presence in all the transport infrastructures, ports, railway stations and airports, but this war against terrorism must be conducted with lieu as i hadty, calmness with determination, because it will be a long one, and we must apply
the essential measures. it's what we've been doing in france for some years with the legislative measures which need to be effective and also respectful of freedom and we must have unity at the european level could also talk about unity at the global level for countries that wish to act against terrorism, but the most vital unity is at the national level and everyone must be aware that in this period, we must be in a state of cohesion, unity, and solidarity, and today as with belgium yesterday, it was with france that countries express their solidarity.
we are all aware that we are all fully involved and that's why at the start at this meeting that we think about what we can do in europe and in our own country, and to be with you, and to be dealing with the subject, because there will be no economic development, no sustainable investment if there is not security in place before hand. security is also part of the attraction, and we must ensure that all means are taken here in france and more widely in europe, and i'm talking in the name of france so that you can ensure to your staff and ensure that you can also invest with
full lucidity and full cooperation. thank you very much. i will talk, there are those meeting here -- >> we are listening to the french president francois hollande talking about those attacks in brussels earlier this morning, saying that they had struck belgium, but that europe was the target, and that france and belgium share the horror and the that france offers all possible support, the french president speaking there in wake of the attacks on brussels. let's cross over now to bruno, a security analyst with the german marshall fund and joins us via skype from brussels. before we get on to the broader issues of security, can i get an
idea where you were at the time of these attacks earlier this morning? >> as a matter of fact, fortunately for myself, i was still home, but i do live 10 minutes from the district, so i could see the level of chaos that was here at the time. >> describe for us what that looked like. >> all the time, and still even now, you can still hear sirens be a ambulances, police cars, sometimes even ambulances being escorted by police cars, so they can go quicker through traffic. maybe you can hear them as they pass right now, actually, so there's definitely a level of nervousness in the city that you can see. just about 10 minutes ago, i saw police forces just stopping vans and cars on the streets just to check them randomly. >> so people are still out on the street, there is still traffic out on the roads? >> yes, yes. i mean, you know, it's a bizarre
contrast where in my enables, only 10 minutes from the e.u. district, there are cars on the roads, people are just walking on the streets, the shops are open, but again, you know, it's a bizarre contrast, yes. >> yes, that does sound incredibly useful situation. bruno, brussels was on high alert following the arrest of saleh abdeslam and yet the series of bombings still took place. some suggest if they want to attack, they can do it no matter what security apparatus is in place. do you agree with that? >> yes, and i think we heard on your show, today's attacks in brussels show how really difficult it is to protect soft targets. it requires a small operation, limited resources, for instance, today, at the airport, there were soldiers on the ground. there were police forces on the ground and still, you know, they managed to just enter the building and do the attack basically, so again, how do you
protect soft targets. this is the big issue we have to look into. >> perhaps we look at the borders, what more do you think could be done there or can be done still? >> border security is the question here. i mean, what can we do to that regard. i personally would say that european countries have not been doing the greatest job in that regards, more cooperation is needed, mormon forking is needed, but also the cooperation with the turk countries, with a country like turkey to monitor who is returning from syria to western europe should be better looked at. >> also, we were talking just a little earlier with our guests on set here. in the last few days, everything seems to be painting towards brussels, saleh abdeslam was arrested in brussels, he was a french man. what is the feeling why belgium
is being particularly targeted? >> first of all, this is not the first terrorist attack in brussels. you might recall the attack on the jewish museum in 2014 by a gunman linked to islamic state. definitely the events in paris were a wake-up call to our security and today of course is a tragic ending of that. radicalization has been a big problem in brussels. there are areas where there is discrimination towards arab population -- we are seeing this and admittedly, and i myself, i am belgian, but admittedly perhaps this has not always been permanently on the radar screen of the government, where as the feeling that we should be tolerant towards minorities was overshadowing the need for more security and monitoring radicalization, so this is definitely something that
happens. also for instance, when saleh abdeslam was arrested, some people following the events were throwing stones at the police at the time of the operation. this was quite shocking for instance to see that. radicalization has been a problem here, but it admittedly hasn't been properly tackled until today. >> thank you very much for taking the time to join us there from brussels as the extraordinary events unfold just outside where you are right now. martin reardon here on set, senior vice president of the sufan group, a security consultancy and former f.b.i. agent. we were talking earlier about how radicalization is a problem not just in brussels, although we'll focus on that. bruno was saying that diligence are told to be more tolerant towards minorities and that may
have exacerbated the situation. >> i don't know if being taught would cause the situation. in reality, people, you know, there is prejudice everywhere in the world, and i think since we're talking about brussels, there is a serious problem. there are approximately 500 belgians in the last three years who have gone to iraq and syria to fight. many have returned. they are there already, so regardless of controls on the borders, they are already there, and counter terrorism operations are important. law enforcement and intelligence operations are important, but the counter narrative is also important. there's a reason, as your last speaker mentioned, there's a reason why people are radicalized. it's light politics, it's local. the reason for being radicalized in belgium is different than it is in london, than it is in iraq and syria, than it is in new york city. it's local. you have to address those
regions, this is a private-public partnership between the government and schools, between religious organizations, community leaders, to identify what the problems are and make a commitment that you're going to address them. it's one of the tools, a counter narrative and counter terrorism operation together to resolve this issue. >> that's certainly something i'm sure belgians will be looking at in more detail if not today in the coming days. the investigation, the focus is on finding the perpetrators of this attack. we still don't know who did it, the suggestion is that it might be isil. >> because of the paris attacks and arrest over the weekend, there is a likelihood that it is going to be islamic state-related. keep in mind. the al-qaeda group which is in syria now, these are hard core al-qaeda sent bia al zawahiri to
attack. the group went into syria, they are hitting isil but also hitting the al-qaeda group. there's a potential it could be al-qaeda, but right now, they are giving a close look at islamic state. >> have we seen attacks from this al-qaeda group? >> when the airstrikes started in syria a year and a half ago, that al-qaeda group was hit very hard. that's a matter of hitting western foreign fighters, giving them the trade craft, the firearms training, if there are suicide bombings, looking for that, teaching them to make bombs and sending them home. we have not seen the horazan group yet, but they're a threat.
isil could have sent cells back or it could have just been returning foreign fighters regardless what organization they are with, they are still radicalized, still angry and they still want to attack. >> ok. martin, do stay with us. it's really fascinating to get your insights here as we continue coverings this story in the wake have the three explosions in brussels, coming up to four hours ago. let's hear once again from steve clemens, a foreign policy analyst in the atlantic magazine. we started to speak to him earlier before going to the french president. he joins us from amsterdam after leaving brussels shortly following the blast. >> people knew immediately what had happened. it's just very interesting. there's a fragility here when the terror raised and saleh abdeslam was captured, so there's just an awareness here.
from everywhere i saw. people were orderly, not screaming, but they knew the police and authorities were firm, and people complied. i feel like i was nowhere near as close as many others were, but given the frustration and given the fact that brussels is now, has bombs going off that are shutting basic transportation systems everywhere. all the public transport is essentially shut down except buses right now. that's scary to be in the middle of and you're trying to get out of town. i think it protects identity. it affect the way people see they are what it is to be european, what degree of openness, we're generally quite open societies. i think that there will be introspection and some people will say terrorism and crime like this no matter what is something that criminal intelligence officials can take
on be a another part of them are going to say this experiment is trying to become more of a melting pot, you know, has some edges that are uncomfortable and haven't figured out, but clearly the rise of a new dark nationalism and some of the countries affected by this is happening in response to this. when you look at these internal security terrorism incidents like in brussels right now, like in france, you add to that the refugee crisis that's hit europe, you add to that the economic tension inside europe between greece and germany, you take all those things and they're making a very toxic miss of defenseness in europe. >> this is the scene in downtown brussels right now at 11:48g.m.t., that is 1248 in the afternoon there in brussels.
this is where the explosion happened at 8:00 g.m.t. our correspondent was saying earlier that ambulances were still arriving, as youing that casualties were still there at the metro, but that otherwise the place has been evacuated, the entire metro system we know now has been shut down, so that's the scene there near brussels metro station where it also of course has two earlier explosions at the airport. here is another witness who is at that airport describing what happened. >> we were having lunch on the fourth floor of the departure loud when we heard the first explosion. there was screaming and people started to leave. then there was a second large explosion and the windows shattered.
the injured were lying at the check out desks near the ground. >> our correspondent is at the airport. we are seeing ambulances at the metro station, suggesting that it's still taking time to move casualties to hospital and out of the area. have all the casualties there been found and moved away? >> that's what we're trying to establish now, but official physician have been mentioned regarding the death toll. 11 have been confirmed dead here, 81 injured, that's according to the belgian minister for health, so one assumes that there are teams on the ground being able to remove those who were killed in this attack, and to make sure that the injured, importantly, receive medical treatment as soon as possible. there has been a steady stream of ambulances arriving and
leaving the airport over the course of the morning, as well as a full scale evacuation effort, as well. we've seen thousands of people both staff and passengers, ordinary citizens being ferried out of the airport, many of them still carrying their luggage and being boarded on to buses. we may see one or two pass behind me during the course of our discussion. they're being taken on to other parts of the city, some of whom may also be questioned by police, too. we have to of course remember now that this is an active crime scene, that this is a murder scene that important evidence needs to be gathered on the ground and that is essentially what the authorities are going to be organizing next. we haven't yet scene forensic teams arrive, but we imagine it's going to be a very tough job for those teams arriving here soon. >> we've got pictures we showed earlier, let's bring those up
again of the smoke rising from the airport, suggesting the extent of the damage from those explosions. i mean, it's going to be an awful lot of wreckage to sift through. >> eyewitnesses we've been speaking to describe a very kay anotherric scene, two powerful blasts, one taxi driver we spoke to would the blast was so strong that it threw people up into the air. the entire front facade of the airport has been severely damaged. the roof may have collapsed or at least partially collapsed. of course, now, into that chaotic scene, investigators need to go. some of the dead may still be there in the scene. it may be difficult to remove some of those who have been killed. of course, it's very ,very important, too, for forensic teams to be able to leave as much evidence in place for as
long as possible. we know in the wake of the paris attacks last november, that crucial d.n.a. evidence was gathered from explosive devices or at least debris left at some of the scenes that allowed them to piece together a big picture of who was responsible or who was involved indirectly or directly in the paris attacks last year. of course, now, a similar situation will begin in brussels. >> how are you evaluating your response to all of this. you say investigation must take place as quickly as possible, getting passengers an from the airport as quickly as possible. we've been seeing them border coaches. it does appear to be well controlled and people to be calm. well, initially when we first arrived here, a very different scene, the police were very, very eager to seal the area off quickly. there were a lot of very
confused, very bewildered people spilling out of the airport. over the course of the last few hours, we've seen it become much more organized. a bus has just passed me carrying more people away from the airport. there are concerted efforts to make sure that the evacuation continues as smoothly as possible and to allow also for security teams to go into the airport, so we've already talked about, but taking a broader look at what has been happening in brussels over the last few days, there have been some questions asked about the level of security as a whole in belgium. that's an ambulance passing by there. on friday, after the arrest of saleh abdeslam, the authorities somewhat breathed a sigh of relief and we didn't see at all over the course of saturday or sunday, any increase of security on streets of brussels. they had of course already been military positioned key
installations like the airport and train stations, but nothing more than normal, despite the fact that both the belgian and french prosecutors say that after initially interviewing saleh abdeslam, who is in a top security prison, they were aware of the possibility of new attacks being planned, new attacks being imminent. that raises a whole series of questions about what the authorities knew over the last couple of days and how quickly they have been able to respond but already people are wondering what more could have been done at airport. >> we still see ambulances going from and to the site. this is a picture again of the scene at the metro station, the site of the third attack in brussels this morning.
this is the scene from underground where we can see people on that train leaving the underground in a rather calm and orderly fashion following the blast in the vicinity there. our correspondent, paul brennan got as close as he can to the malbeek station. >> the police have thrown a perimeter around the malbeek station for obvious reasons. ambulances are arriving. there are masked police officers, armed officers in cars preventing anybody from going into the area and also on stand by should there be follow up operations required. i heard just a few minutes ago,
although the sound subsided now, a helicopter overhead, too. what we're hearing from the authorities as you say is the confirmation that so far, the latest numbers of casualties are 15 dead. the scene as described by witnesses are one of panic and uncertainty. people are streaming out of that station, a large band obviously smoke, uncertainty and a huge amount of fear, as well. the authorities are telling people here to stay off the telephones, to only us s.n.s. communications to keep the phone lines free, and telling people if you don't have to go out, please stay home. i was here after the paris attacks. it was described as lockdown.
it wasn't as much of a lockdown as we have here in brussels today. >> it's interesting that you say that. we have pictures live to the metro, we can see ambulances and vehicles with flashing lights. a man was walking past on his bicycle, so it does seem as though people are out on the streets despite what the authorities are saying. >> there's always got to be somebody who is not going to listen to what the authorities have to say, i suppose. you can't account for everybody, but certainly the advice given is not to be out on the streets, to stay at home, watch the media, not to gather in large groups and to stay safe. paul, are you still there? >> yes, i am. >> pom jesus, i thought we were just cut off in the middle. i was just wondering, continuing on that theme of people going
capture saleh abdeslam. the belgian prime minister said and i quote "what we feared has happened." at the back of the mind of the authorities, it was always in their thinking that this kind of attack was still possible despite the high profile arrest of saleh abdeslam. good morning and live from new york, i'm stephanie sy. >> i'm del walters, you are watching the live coverage of the series of explosions that have rocked brussels. the airport attack was a suicide bombing. that attack was followed by another explosion at a metro station in the center of brussels. in total, 28 people have been killed. >> now parts of europe are on lockdown, the rail stations and airports in belgium, france, netherlands and the u.k. either shut or under increased security. belgium now at its highest alert level. >> footage from the airport shows people running from the terminal building right after the blast.
the attacks come four days after saleh abdeslam, the only surviving suspect alleged to have carried out the paris attacks was captured in brussels. it comes after authorities announced they were searching for another suspect identified by authorities as a bomb maker. >> president obama is on that trip to cuba right now. he has been briefed, according to the white house. we are also told the u.s. officials are issue close contact with their belgian counterparts. we want to take you back now to our headquarters in doha for their continued live coverage of the attacks. >> the neighboring country and have set up security. the 1,600 extra police officers from france have been deployed to the french borders. our correspondent imran kahn reports on the morning explosion in brussels. >> this video was taken just a few moments after the explosions at brussels airport.
eyewitnesses say they felt the blast at the airport. the blast took place just after 7g.m.t. with another just under an hour later on a tunnel between metro stations in the city. belgium had been on high alert after the arrest osaleh abdeslam, a key suspect in the terrorist attacks. >> i have no information to give. we're working in terms of priority to provide support to the injured, evacuate, deem with the injured and to ensure security in particularly sensitive areas. there have been several explosions. there are people on the run who have escaped. we have no information as yet. >> across europe, governments are now having crisis meetings. david cameron, the prime minister of the u.k. says he is convening a high security meeting london.
in amman, jordan, european union foreign policies chief said the e.u. and middle east needed to unit in moments of tragedy like this. >> europe and its capital are suffering the same pain that this region has known and known every single day, being it syria, being it elsewhere. we are still waiting for more precise news on the dynamics of the attacks in brussels. >> the french say they are taking action to prevent further attacks. prime minister and the president have reminded during the meeting the determination of france to fight terrorism and that's what we've been doing for some months through the strengthening of the police and the intelligence services and it's what we're doing through the rigorous application of the rules of law.
>> the explosion at the airport is said to have taken place at an american airlines check in desk. former f.b.i. agent said it could have been a planned attack. the interior minister has raised the threat level in the country to the highest and rail services in and to the city of all been canceled. imran kahn, al jazeera. let's take a closer look at where these developments are unfolding. we've got the first two explosions at airport, 12 kilometers northeast of brussels. then we have an explosion at malbeek metro station at the city center. the underground station is close to e.u. buildings, including the parliamentment. the new picture we're getting from inside the airport, you can see the absolute chaos that is gone on there. this is just moments after that attack took place with a room
full of smoke and people cowering where they stood, luggage abandoned as people fled. this is some of the first pictures we are seeing from inside the airport just after that attack took place, some four, five hours ago this morning. our correspondent is just outside the airport, just outside the terminal believes, i should say at the airport. we are looking at the departure term nat here, is that where this explosion took place? >> that's right. that's been confirmed by official sources and by eyewitnesses, too. what we have been seeing over the course of the morning is the steady stream of people being evacuated, first and foremost from the departure's area and outlying buildings near where the two blasts took place, one inside, one outside, we believe and then from the rest of the
airport. we've seen literally thousands of people staff and travelers boarding on to buses and being taken elsewhere. at least one bus a short while ago drove past onboard where dozen was people, some wearing special blankets, thermal blankets, i did see at least one person who had blood on their face, so a mixture of people that were very close to where the blast took place and other people who were arriving at the airport or other parts of the airport now being moved to safety. >> the scene obviously at the time of the attack, of course was absolute chaos. we then saw pictures of people being ferried on to coaches and that not very long afterwards looked calm. >> initially, it was quite
chaotic. the police very quickly needed to establish a safe perimeter to make sure that no further attacks were imminent in this particular area. they immediately sealed off several roads. they wouldn't led the media get anywhere near the departure terminal itself and they were desperately trying to make sure that the people inside the airport got to the scene as quickly as possible. the scene here calmed down significantly, the numbers of evacuees are starting to reduce and the police as you can see behind me have set up various different blocks on the key roads leading into the airport itself. this is all ahead of what will be a lengthy forensic investigation in the actual scene of the blast. we're already starting to hear information about what those specialist teams may be seeing. the belga news agency in belgium is reporting a reliable source, but is saying that weapons may
have been also been found inside the terminal. we're waiting for confirmation from official police sources on that, but the suggestion is that specialist teams may already be gathering evidence in what is clearly a very chaotic scene. eyewitnesses have talked about the facade of the airport largely crumbling, parents of the airport ceiling falling away, as well, so a very dangerous scene for those specialist teams going into that area, too, in order to of course get the injured out, but secondly to get important evidence that they need to launch what will be i imagine a very complicated investigation. >> yes, of course. as people go in, as investigators manage to enter and search the building. we will be getting updated numbers of people. we are just hearing now from the ministry of health, they are actually saying there are now 11 people dead at the airport, and
15 at the metro. they've revised down the figure from 28 to 26. an awful lot, judging by the devastation of the airport to be dug through is going to be a quite a long process. >> well that's right. just to add to that the belgian minister of health said as well as confirming 11 people died here at the
as soon as we get more information, it will be relaid on to you. first and foremost for the authorities here, the goal is also to make sure that the last remaining people, the remaining citizens or the remaining travelers and workers at the zaventem airport get to safety as quickly as possible. >> thank you for bringing us the very latest from brussels airport as that investigation gets underway and also as ambulances still go to and from the scene. a short while ago, we heard from the french president francois hollande. he made this statement. >> the most vital unity is at the knoll level. we must be in a state of cohesion and solidarity. today it is with belgium. we are all involved and must deal with the subject because
without security, there will be no economic development and we must assure all means go into france and all of europe. we have martin reardon here with us here on set, from the security group and former f.b.i. agent. the house to house searches are now going on in brussels. we talked about the investigation getting underway at the airport, but it's going to be city wide, if not nationwide. >> well, depending where we're at, this could be the result of the initial investigation. there may have been something found or witnessed information at one of the two crime scenes that led them to certain houses to check or there could have been a cell that they're already looking at, now they suspect that cell may have been involved, so what they are doing is searches there. >> we looked at the border issues. after the paris attacks, saleh
abdeslam was able to get out of france. how do they seal the borders? >> it's difficult. national borders in europe are porous. >> the schengen, this being raised again as one reason why within europe it's unsafe, people can move freely. do you think that's at risk? >> they've been looking at it since paris and there is a lot of discussion, but that is an integral part of the european society and to say that they are
going to stop using it, there are implications. i think they are going to look at it carefully and perhaps not stop using it, but tweak it, a way to get more control. >> is there a way? >> well with that it it would be difficult, because if you have open borders, you have to basically, the security has to be increased an the external borders, where europe borders into asia minor, or people flying in from outside, that's how they have to control it. within europe, if they want to control schengen, it's going to be difficult. >> why do you think it took so long to find saleh abdeslam. are there holes in the security services or the sharing of intelligence between nation. >> with the sharing of intelligence, that's a long-standing problem. within the last 15 years, it is a lot better than it used to be. in europe, since paris attacks
in november, the international communications between the countries there are better. as to why he would go these four months or so and not be caught, he had a network there and he was able to move in surprisingly within the malbeek section. he had a network where he was able to move from house to house and a number of those people were arrested along with him. >> the network was found to be much wider than originally thought. there are two named suspects who are actively being searched. >> there are. when you're in an area and you've got family, you've got friends that will hide you or cell members that will hide you, you stay inside, you don't go out, there's less likelihood you'll be caught. and if you're not communicating, there's no telephone communications, no email communications. >> you were saying earlier that there were 500, i will belgians who were known to have going to
syria to join the fight against isil, that a number of those people had come back. how much do authorities know about them? >> the best estimates, the belgian estimates, it's 480, that in the last three years have gone to iraq and syria, at least once. many of them have returned. the best estimate is about a quarter of the foreign fighters that went to iraq and syria in the last three years have returned to their countries, in the middle east, africa, europe or north america, they have rushed. one problem authorities have is they are not absolutely sure who went and when they come back, even with a cell from paris, they didn't know they were back. it makes it a challenge. it makes it very complicated. >> in the coming days if they haven't already, they are looking at why this is happening and why people are being radicalized, what more can people do?
>> well, are the radicalization problem, this is again where that private, the government private public partnership comes in, the government has to work with the schools, communities, with the police to identify what the problems are, why are people in belgium being radicalized. i think the belgian government has a good handle on it now. same reason in france and the u.k. and other european countries, many of the same reasons. what can you do to address those reasons? whether that's better living conditions, working on employment opportunities, on educational opportunities, an emphasis from the community that this is not who we are, this is not what we want, there is a future for you. some countries have been very successful in that. >> examples. >> indonesia, saudi arabia. saudi arabia has a serious
radicalization problem but an effective counter radicalization problem where they identify people at risk and they'll put them in a jail facility, but they'll put them through a deradicalization program. part of that is once they're released they have a job or they're single in some cases, help them to get married, giving them a future. >> fascinating to talk to you. thank you very much for joining us here on set. let's speak now to barnaby phillips, our correspondent live for us from london. barnaby, first of all, just tell us what you're hearing from authorities in reaction to these attacks that. >> the british government is holding an emergency security meeting, the group is called cobra. at the moment, that's the prime minister, the heads of intelligence, defense and so on. we understand that david cameron will speak afterwards and his message will probably be one of
course of sympathy and solidarity with belgium and brussels, but also naturally reassurance for people in this country. britain is on a state of heightened alert, there is added security at railway stations, at airports around london this morning, trains are not running on the euro star from london to brussels, they're not running in northwest france, but britain is not on the highest level, which means that the authorities do not feel at the moment that an attack is imminent. i would expect some calming, reassuring words from the prime minister when he speaks later. >> of course we heard from the french president and he said that belgium had been struck but that europe had been targeted. >> yes, and the british government would endorse those sympathies. i think privately, they might feel that they have certain
advantage over continental urine. obviously today is perhaps a very insensitive time for the british government to be talking about those, but if you talk to, for example, british policeman, british security experts, they'll say we're not part of schengen, we're not part of the open borders, we're an island, that's agree graphic not only a political fact which makes it easier for us to control whose coming in and out. traditionally in this country, as well, there have been a lot less firearms, not only on the side of the police, but also within the criminal community than there have been in belgium and in france. then i think there's one other area where the british police feel that they're having more success than the belgians, their collaborating much more with the intelligence services in this country. it seems like a very obvious natural thing to do, but it seems that that may have been a
failure in belgium. beyond that, you have to look to a wider social situation, and again, the british police, i was talking to them just last week about terror plots in this country, and they feel that they have had good cooperation from the muslim community, or rather people in the muslim community who have been unhappy, worried about the activities of somebody in their community have come forward and given evidence to the police, and in that way, they've managed to foil, prevent attacks, which might otherwise have happened, so there is perhaps a greater sense, i mean one is hesitant to draw conclusions, but of social cohesion, which has played to britons advantage. i certainly want want to sound complacent at all at these kind
of attacks that people are absolutely determined can happen in any society, of course. >> absolutely, and of course, we talked about this earlier barnaby, there will be people who will remember and memories brought back of the seven that-7 bombings in london. >> yes, of course, they were seven years ago, but attacks in a crowded metro underground system very similar to what happened in brussels today. if we look at the people involved in the 7-7 killings, well, i suppose what is so disturbing is that they were four british people brought up in this country, speaking with yorkshire accents and yet became radicalized very quickly and they decided to spread havoc and terror on the streets of their own cities and that's what we've seen in brussels and in paris over the last 14 months now in three separate incidents.
that is very, very worrying for the authorities right across europe. >> absolutely. barnaby phillips, thanks very much for joining us there from london, we will keep across what the prime minister has dos in the coming hours. thank you very much for the moment. we are getting more pictures coming in from inside i believe the airport terminal after the bomb happened in brussels some hours ago. this is the scene outside the terminal. this is the first time you've come down talking about this with us. what is your view on who might be behind this and why.
>> i've been looking at various analysis from various parts of the world. clearly while we are all in the missed it is of a guessing game, there are patterns, as well. the pattern in the past will tell us three things. one, this is happened just after a major arrest the last couple of days and hence, there's a high probability that it's related to the arrest of saleh abdeslam in belgium. while this is international terrorism, it's part of that operation again, part of the pattern, but it's also on the other hand, an act done by local actors in their low kale, meaning this is at the end of the day something we've seen in paris, something done by people very familiar within the environment, just like we see
with saleh abdeslam. third, this definitely has to do with what has been going on in syria and other places and hence there has been that kind of a transnational relationship where people have gone to syria or other places in the greater middle east, come back, were trained, radicalized and so on and so forth. fourth, there's the issue of being radicalized through satellite media and the like, especially in new media and there is a lot of young people in media with a certain background that have been radicalized through new media and hence we have seen that kind of pattern, as well and we have seen that especially in paris. in the overall, this is part of a nuanced complicated situation that have international dimensions, have local dimensions and they are part of a pattern. >> these are the latest pictures from inside the airport after
the bombing. we apologize because they are quite gruesome. you can see people queuing with their luggage, this is a push chair there, ordinary civilians going about their business. why are these soft targets targeted? >> exactly because what they are, soft targets. you know? at the end of the day, there's a certain logic to terrorism and that's primarily to terrorize, and you terrorize in the most likely places where people might be, or on the fault lines between various places. that's why terrorism historically speaking has been for some reason hitting the kind of airports and train stations and buses and so on and so forth. i think it has a high value tarts in terms of triesing people, and a lot of people will
feel part and parcel of that. for example, you were mentioning earlier, the bombing, the 7-7 bombinging london. who doesn't take the tube as they call it in london, same thing in paris, people go out and hang out in cafes. in this case, it's a metro station and airport. it is meant to terrorize. it is meant to be the softest possible targets and it is meant to in still fear and it is meant to stabilize, otherwise it wouldn't be called terrorism. >> why are people on high alert? we spoke to an eyewitness earlier in the metro attack and she said after the arrest of saleh abdeslam, nobody was particularly concerned, everybody carried on with business as normal. do you think brussels should have been on a higher state of alert? >> look, i mean, i know enough about counter terrorism, right, but i know also how to be critical of counter terrorism, meaning it's very difficult for open societies like european
societies, like western societies, like indonesia, and so on and so forth to be on alert on orange or red 24/7. it's impossible to live. little the responsibility of the state while taking all the measures necessary, right, with intelligence, with policing, with as you were talking earlier, border issues and so on and so forth to do all the necessary situations but at the same time not in still fears in the population. what they need is the contrary, to do everything possible while asking people to have the minimal life possible, otherwise the terrorists have succeeded. >> earlier saying -- the french pot francois hollande saying it is not brussels being targeted,
it's europe. >> at the end of the day, a lot of the actors who have carried these operations in europe were local, meaning belgian citizens, french citizens. they do have a certain religious backgrounds or radicalized in certain ideological ways. people don't travel overseas. this is not 9/11, let's put it this way and this is not lone wolf, either. this is the kind of operations that happen and some of the counter terrorism experts of given it a name already, right? it's called spin. segmented poly sent rick ideologically network groups. meaning they are not necessarily one of the same cell. there could be different cells.
they are segmented, but they are polycentric. it is much more difficult for counter terrorism experts or law enforcement to tackle them, because this is not al-qaeda central. this is not one particular place. this is not mosul, right? this is segmented, polycentric. it's certainly now you a question of intelligence, who's in the country, who's in the continent, especially when they can't travel in the schengen
operation across various borders and they can have various hideouts. they have citizenship and a familiarity with those places. they are not strangers necessarily total societies they are argumenting in. >> we'll come back to you for more analysis on these attacks this morning. again across to our correspondent paul brennan, he's just moved from malbeek metro to chuman. explain to us why you've moved and what's happening there. >> we've come here because the focus of the attacks was a long road which has two main stations on it, chew man and malbeek.
some of those caught up on the metro station work here. the ministry confirmed one of its diplomats have been injured on the way to work. one british citizen has also been injured, too. the flags, which you can see over my shoulder, i think, here at the european commission have been lowered to half mast as a result of the numbers killed and the numbers wounded. the death toll at the moment as we stand still is from the metro blast, it's 15 dead, 55 people confirmed injured, 10 of those injured are critically wounded, so there is grave fear for their condition, 55 dead in total. the fear is palpable, there are people standing around in huddles talk in hushed tones. the media is out in force and
the police, soldiers and authorities, the plain clothes police and security forces whizzing around the streets in on going operations. there have been a number of reports of suspect packages which have had to be dealt with. i think there's been at least one controlled explosion of a suspect package. other reports of unsubstantiated alerts gives you a sense of the fear and trepidation that there is here in plus sells at the moment. >> absolutely. >> we are hearing there are house to house investigations. this is widespread. >> since the paris attacks, there have been a rolling series of on going raised targeting the paris attacks conspiracy. what they have been finding as they've gone through that investigation is wh wide numberf
radicalization taking place specifically in brussels, specifically in the maelbeek section of brussels. they weren't expecting an attack such as this. i know the prime minister said this morning what we feared has happened, so he was giving an indication that at least he was fearful of the prospect of another attack, but there could have been three separate attacks at two locations, two bombs at the airport, one bomb on a metro in the center of town. it appears that security forces have been caught unawares again. >> the security was already on high alert, wasn't it, paul? can you talk us through what that looks like in terms of the
security presence on the streets before these attacks took place? >> yeah, at the very highest alert, what you see is police with soldiers accompanying them at checkpoints around the city. you see strategic areas of the city, the area behind me, the european commission headquarters, the buildings that are associated with those european union administration, those are cordoned off. people are being told to stay indoors. there is a high security presence. you see police officers in unmarked cars just with blue lights flashing through the whipped screen, flying through the city on unspecified missions. you see helicopter and probably hear the helicopter flying overhead at the moment. what it means when they put it to the highest state of alert is that all possible resources are being put into combating the suspicion that there is a
radical on going group attempting to lunch attacks here in brussels. they've launched extra soldiers, i think it's 225 off the top of my head, extra soldiers have been drafted into brussels to reinforce the numbers already here. this was an ongoing operation all the way back to november after the paris attacks and it really hasn't subsided since then. >> paul brennan, thanks very much. that's the scene there in downtown brussels at the metro station, one of the two met astro stations in which that third blast happened there just a few hours ago in brussels. the metro station now of course closed down. let's bring you up to date if you're just joining us on everything that we know so far, and that is belgian prosecutors saying that a blast at brussels at the zaventem airport was a suicide talk. two explosions went off there. there's 11 explosion at maelbeek station at the metro underground network and brussels says that the metro, the entire metro has
now been closed down. we are hearing at least 26 people being killed in those three attacks. many more injured. that number does fluctuate. we have one figure being quoted by local sources at 32. the metro operator saying that 15 of those deaths were in the explosion at maelbeek station. the threat level has been raised across belgium to level four. that is the highest when paul brennan was talking about, plenty of security out on the street, the capsule is under lockdown, people have been told to stay where they are, not to go home, but to stay put, so we're hearing that children at schools have been told to stay there, parents not coming to collect them until they are told to or until the end of the day. meanwhile, neighboring countries and the european commission, which is of course based in brussels have stepped up their security. the same e.u. buildings flying
their flags at half mast where that metro bombing took place. france's interior minister said 1600 extra police officers have been deployed to the french borders to try to secure the route between brussels and paris. our correspondent, imran kahn reports on the morning explosions in brussels. >> this video was taken just a few moments after the explosions at brussels zaventem airport. eyewitnesses say they felt the blast at the airport. the blast took place just after 7g.m.t. with another just under an hour later on a tunnel between metro stations in the city. belgium had been on high alert since the arrest in brussels of saleh abdeslam, a key suspect in the terrorist attacks.
>> i have no information to give. we're working in terms of priority to provide support to the injured, evacuate, deal with the injured and to ensure security in particularly sensitive areas. there have been several explosions. there are people on the run who have escaped. we have no information as yet. >> across europe, governments are now having crisis meetings. david cameron, the prime minister of the u.k., says he is convening a high security meeting london. in amman, jordan, european union foreign policies chief said the e.u. and middle east needed to unit in moments of tragedy like this. >> europe and its capital are suffering the same pain that this region has known and known every single day, being it in syria, being it elsewhere. we are still waiting for more precise news on the dynamics of the attacks in brussels. >> the french say they are
taking action to prevent further attacks. prime minister and the president have reminded during the meeting the determination of france to fight terrorism and that's what we've been doing for some months through the strengthening of the police and the intelligence services and it's what we're doing through the rigorous application of the rules of law. >> the explosion at the airport is said to have taken place at an american airlines check in desk. former f.b.i. agent, martin reardon, said it could have been a planned attack. the interior minister has raised the threat level in the country to the highest and rail services in and to the city of all been canceled. imran kahn, al jazeera. >> we spoke earlier about what a witness experienced at the metro
just moments before the attack happened. >> i was just arriving in the area, the metro station quite close to the european building, and i was actually at 50 meters of the entrance of the european building. i saw people running out, so i decided to take a small road that's actually parallel to the streets, the below street, which is where the metro station is. as i was taking the parallel road, policemen were running. it was and get chaos there. ambulances were arriving, so i put myself aside and i just waited there, at the same time press was arriving, the police immediately sealed off the area, and i stayed there, because i was actually blocked. i saw people getting in ambulances, then the firemen arrived. at a certain point in time, there was a big alarm and all firemen, all police were running away again.
it was quite chaotic there. >> it certainly sounds incredibly chaotic. i'm wondering at what point you actually found out what was going on. >> well, i was listening to the radio all the time and when i was on the side of the road, i immediately felt like something was going on and then i heard on the radio there was an explosion at the metro 100 meters further down, so but people listen to the radio when these things happen. of course i heard in the morning explosion at the airport, also closed by where i live, so we were actually really following media and stuff like that. >> you say that the airport is close by to where you live, so where did you go after he were able to get out from where you were waiting? >> we have security measures in belgium asking everyone to stay inside. people are actually following the security measures, because actually the roads were quite ok. there were not -- there were not too many traffic jams, just
around the area, maybe one kilometer and afterwards, the roads are really empty. people are listening to the security measures, stay at home, stay inside. >> so that was the scene at the metro this morning. that was the third bomb attack that took place just 8:00g.m.t. these are the pictures from the airport. one was inside a departure terminal, one just outside the building. a suicide bomber was involved in that attack. it took place at 8:00 a.m. local, as people were queuing up to get on their flights to elsewhere in the world from brussels. the airport now of course is closed. investigators are in their sifting through all this debris, a huge task to find information that can lead to the suspects
services, they should have known that when you catch someone like that, if he is in any way net worked with other people that something else is coming up and now the job is to know whether there are others coming forward and to preempt them and how do you do that? by intelligence work. >> it's a huge mission, we're talking of hundreds of people we know have gone to syria and come back. we still don't know. >> we are getting. >> we are speculating purely at this point. if you do look at that area, we are talking the potential of very many cells controls not just belgium but the whole of europe. >> at this point in our conversation and while people are looking at the horror that has hit belgium and before that france, london, before that, spain, to talk about the laxity that we've all allowed isil to spread the way it spread, deepen its presence and allow it to attract and recruit the kind of
people it did recruit not just from europe but other various countries in the world. we've known for a dozen years now, we've known and you know western counter intelligence terrorism have documented the management of savagery, or global resistance that basically talk about exactly that kind or a strategy by the likes away isil and al-qaeda where they embed the kinds of recruits in versus societies around the world, also in the middle east and we've been seeing the kinds of actions we have in the middle east and various muslim countries as well, where they create the havoc and fear and the chaos that allows the likes of al-qaeda and isil to exploit the kinds of instability. we've really waited so long, the
so-called islamic state group announced themselves 10 years ago, 2006, right? and we've seen the kind of actions at least over the last two and a half years where the kind of recruitment, with the kinds of deepening of its presence, recruitment of children in muslim, iraq and other places and allow me to say that the western world has allowed this to happen, because it was happening in syria. young people, the jay z.'s and barack obama saying they don't threaten the rest of the world, but guess what, they do threaten the rest of the world.
savagery happened because we allow the situation to fester in the likes of syria and iraq and other places, so it is perhaps, you know, good time for all people, rational people, moderate people, reasonable people, just people from all over the world to fight this kind of extremism that allows that kind of situations to fester. i'm sure a lot of this is under study, but if you are in the mind set of security in paris and belgium, we are having an emergency situation. france has been under emergency rule, right and i think belgium will probably take that way. this is for them the time to
talk about alienation and inequality and extreme radicalization, although in the long term, you can't tackle it without security. >> that is the obvious reason. >> at least people should stop doing the kinds of things we have been hearing for mr. presidential candidate donald trump where you alienate a community, an entire community. this is the time europe is going to need its muslims. this is the time where europe is going to need its muslims, because it is going to be the cooperation between the various sectors of the european society or belgian society to come together and fight this kind of evil, right? if the first instinct for now
whoever in the security is alienating muslims in belgium and europe is going to aggravate the situations. muslims are not the enemy. they are part of the solution. they have to go after the extremist violent elements but have to incubate all sections of society to go after this. >> we'll come back for more on the situation in a moment. just a short while ago, we did hear from the french president francois hollande. he made this statement. the most vital unity is at the national level and everyone must be aware that in this period, we must be in a state of cohesion, unity, and solidarity, and today as with belgium yesterday, it was with france that countries express their solidarity. we are all aware that we are all fully involved and that's why at the start at this meeting that we think about what we can do in europe and in our own country, and to be with you, and to be dealing with the subject, because there will be no economic development, no sustainable investment if there is not security in place before hand.
>> he said the safety takes precedence over anybody else. >> you look at that departure lounge, easy access, and, you know, you have a situation where again, we're looking at a soft target that's been picked. we're not looking at a target where once you've gone through all the security procedures. i mean obviously questions have been asked about the fact that what's gone on in the last couple of weeks in brussels certainly with the arrest of abdeslam and others and of course he was the key figure, that maybe perhaps more of a uniform presence, armed presence there, but, you know, however do we have to go with security? do we have to relief procedures to get even to a check-in desk. you can understand the problems here that this would cause, the bottom line of course is safety. the safety of people is paramount. it may be once we do do this in the short term and get
passengers both for train services and brussels has the great train links and even looking at ferries, as well as aircraft to say to passengers, you arrive early, there's going to be more of a disruption and a cue, but this could be one step that has to be taken. >> other correspondent is following events closely at the airport, zaventem airport in brussels where the attacks took place six hours ago now. what's the scene this far on? >> well, there's still an awful lot of activity here at zaventem airport. we think that the evacuation of thousands of people from the airport is now starting to come to an end, although we do keep on seeing the occasional bus full of people. we see a fleet of hearses going in the direction of the main departure terminal.
it gives you an idea of where we are going at the on going investigation into this double blast here at zaventem airport. it looks like all the injured have been ferried away to hospitals for treatment, but now the very, very grim task of identifying the dead and taking the dead away from the scene will begin, and of course, then forensic teams will need to begin their analysis on the ground connecting vital d.n.a. evidence that may well be used in future investigations. it may well help other intelligence officers to establish whether or not there remains imminent risk elsewhere, because of course, belgium is now on highest days of alert levels for and repeat attacks like this could well happen at any time, could well be imminent. what we are hearing though comes from the belga news agency.
they are reporting sources who have been working inside the terminal. according to their sources at least, it's believed that some weapons have been found inside the departure hall. we can't independently verify that. we're still waiting for the police to give an official statement. there is movement when it comes to establishing what may have happened in the the departure hall at zaventem airport. >> we've been showing pictures of the devastating scene inside the departure terminal, trolleys abandoned, luggage abandoned, a push chair, people fleeing as quickly as they could. were you able to speak to any people getting on to those buses, obviously it was a lot calmer, people were safe, they knew it and they were being taken from the area. were you able to speak to any of those people. >> we were indeed. very early on, we spoke to at least two witnesses who were inside the departure hall at the
time of the blast. one of those people was actually working in the haul. he described two blasts, one happening near the ryan air and american airlines desk at the other side of the hallway he was and another near starbucks. we're not clear which was inside and which was outside, but that's the scene he described. he was able to flee by climbing into the bag only mechanism that carries the bags on to the planes and made his way through that system out of an exit and then was able to flee the scene. another person who a member of our team spoke to a little bit earlier on had been evacuated to a sports hall in zaventem. that particular person that one
of our team members spoke to describes an extremely powerful blast, a blast that threw people up into the air. he also described a scene where there were bodies lying on the floor, injured and dead. he described that some security personnel and other specialists were on the scene very quickly, giving some of the injured c.p.r. he even barricaded himself behind a door along with a group of other people for several minutes until things seemed to calm down. those are the kind of stories that are already starting to emerge in the first few hours after this attack, an incredibly chaotic scene. it must have been incredibly frightening for those close to it at the time. >> it looks terrifying judging by the pictures we are seeing from inside the terminal. a fleet of hearses have been
seen traveling to the terminal. a local news agency saying weapons had been found in the search there of that terminal, as the investigation gets underway. of course that's a very long and delicate process given the devastation of the building from the two bombs that happened this morning. let's cross over to our correspondent ball brennan outside chuman airport in brussels where that third explosion took place, using we understand 15 people dead there. paul, we're hearing that the entire metro station at maelbeek has now been evacuated. >> yes, that's the latest confirmation we are receiving from the authorities is that the operation to bring out the bodies of those victims, the 15 victims, and treat and evacuate the numerous wounded survivors has now been completed and completed in the last hour, we
understand, certainly the announcement has only just come in the last half hour from the authorities. you can see what an extended operation it was from underground that metro station, very busy indeed at that time of day to now approximately, well it's lunch time here in brussels, so it's taken some hours in order to properly search that whole area and make sure nobody's been left behind, that nobody was perhaps hiding, fearing for their safety. the announcement has been made that they have now cleared the maelbeek station. i'm here outside the european commission building, near pal beak station. the building itself as many other european buildings and diplomatic missions here in brussels is being guarded by contingents both of police and of soldiers today, as the alert has been raised here to the highest possible alert and the police are continuing with what we hear are house raids.
on going search and potentially arrest operations going on across bus sells, as the police try to catch up with exactly the events of this morning, terrible events of this morning. >> hard to state the significance of the area where you are, with all those european institutions in place there. >> it is, i mean, what's not clear is what exactly the intention of the attacker on the maelbeek metro tube was. was he or she intended to strike at the diplomatic heart of brussels, as you say, this is where the vast majority of the diplomatic says gather, the building over my shoulder is the european commission headquarters. we've already heard from for example the slovenian foreign ministry confirming their
minister was hurt in the blast. the death is going to be a multi-national contingent of victims. the stations are very close together. they are very close to the european commission buildings. i'm usually at metro myself going to summits, to the hotel from the summit building. i know at that time time of day, it is packed and the i think the attackers clearly knew about that. welcome to the news hour and our rolling coverage of the brussels attacks this morning. coming up in the next 60 minutes, dozens killed in those attacks in