tv Eyewitness News This Morning ABC March 22, 2016 4:30am-6:00am EDT
brussels at this hour. of course, we haven't con firmed that but would go toward the sort of attacks that we've had before with these coordinated terror attacks in paris. >> reporter: it looks like it's bigger than that. i'm looking at reporting from rtf, the belgian public television station. it's like the bbc and they are confirming three explosions at three different subway stations in brussels so that would be in addition to the two at the airport this morning bring it up to a total of five at four different locations, the three subway stations in brussels, they are call maalbeek and schuman which is near the seat of the european union. if these are confirmed then i remind you this is coming from the belgian public tv broadcaster so fairly reliable source that there are -- that would be four different locations.
where these locations are throughout the city. give us a sense of the geography. >> reporter: brussels is not large. certainly a lot more concentrated than the paris attacks in november which from spread out. all relatively close together, the main airport for the city is just ten miles outside. none far away from each other. the importance you're striking one of the highest security area s then at least two metro stayings that have symbolic locations next to the seat of the belgian government and seat of the european union. these are all not yet confirmed. >> in case some viewers are tuning in at the bottom. hour you're looking at some scenes right now, the aftermath of the departure terminal we believe at the brussels airport.
you can see what impact this blast had, i believe those are like ceiling tiles that have come down onto the ground. there are injuries reported there but now the breaking news that we're getting right now our alex marquardt is there at the airport in brussels but saying that there are local reports saying there may have been an additional three explosions at capital. >> three different subway stations is the report that alex was getting from the local broadcaster essentially public broadcaster similar to the bbc of bruls. >> the significance of that you're saying is one of those is located near the eu. one is in the maalbeek area. the third do you think is near the nato headquarters? >> reporter: it's what you were talking about. what the significance of this city is is that this city is home to these major institutions, the european union, nato and, of course, all of these embassies relatively
brussels and if these explosions did take place at these metro stations they are highly symbolic symbolic. one is next to the belgian government. another is next to the main building housing the european union and when you add on the explosions we know about at the airport two at 8:00 this morning. this would indicate a coordinated attack so hope to be getting more information from the belgian authorities at the top of the hour. there is a lot of confusion. at least one person killed but reports of more as the authorities have sealed off the airport, flights have stopped going out and coming in and we are on our way by foot to that departure hall right now. >> you mentioned two explosions happened around 8 a.m. local time and then subsequently we
of three explosions at three other subway stations or three subway stations in the area, give us a sense of what's going on this time of day in brussels. is this a peek time to be moving and getting to work. a sense of what the city is doing right now. >> yeah, this is 9:30 in the morning right now and so and the explosions the first ones at the airport happened at 8:00 so you really can't get more peak than that. this is when people are taking the first flights out of the city during the day. this is when people are using the metro to go to work. this sis the highest traffic that the city will see. talking about coordinated and targeted attacks, then, you know, this is the hour that makes the most sense to target.
from the brussels metro, the brussels subway system they are shutting down the whole system. all metro stations are closing across brussels. that follows reports of three explosions at three different metro stations in the heart of the capital. very symbolic areas next to the seat of the european union and of the belgian government. >> a big deal, everybody. we're getting these reports of additional explosions. local media reporting them at several metro stations within the city of brussels this coming after those two explosions that took place at the airport roughly about 8:00, i'd say, local time there in brussels. brussels is five hours ahead of us right now because of daylight saving time normally it would be six. so, alex at this point they've shut down the airport. they have shut down the metro station. i could just imagine this is a city that is just in the throes of a lot of angst right now.
imagine in the u.s. in d.c. or philadelphia or new york shutting down the main airport and shutting down the subway station. that would absolutely wreak havoc. i remember about six years ago covering a double suicide bombing in the metro in moscow and the russians only shut down about six stops on the in et tree because they wanted to isolate it and keep everything going. now, europeans are taking a lot more -- would take a lot more and we're seeing it now. the belgians shutting down the entire subway system, a clear indication and confirmation of those three attacks that happened at the three different stations and so right now, the only way to get around this city is by car, by bus, we haven't heard yet what's happening with the railway system but when you are shutting down the subway system of a major european city,
fears of attacks and possible more attacks to come. >> in the time you've been reporting in brussels with the recent events have you seen anything like this where at any kind of closures like this have occurred or where that would seem to be something that would occur. >> reporter: i'm sorry. >> i was asking in the recent events you've been covering surrounding all these events how unusual is it?maelbeek? but these quick reactions. not unprecedented but how unusual is it. it's extremely unusual. to shut gown the entire airport and not couch it in language that would leave any short of
is a clear indication that they believe that this is terrorism. they -- there have been evacuations of other airports in other european cities like geneva and i was there but they were doused by saying this happens all the time. if you're shutting down the subway system, there's fears of more happening. >> it should be of note. you're familiar with belgium as am i a lot of people travel through the rail system. it's a great rail network and all -- also more importantly it connects to paris and amsterdam and to the netherlands and within just a matter of a couple of hours with the high-speed trains there so they've really targeted an area where they knew a lot of people would be and would cripple the city. >> reporter: absolutely. a good point.
suddenly you drive an hour an you're speaking a different language. american students are always coming over here and getting their eurorail passes and traveling all over the continent. something people have been doing for years so to a large extent people rely a lot and certainly rely a lot more on trains and -- than the u.s. does. there are, of course, budget airlines that fly all over europe that are very popular, but this is -- these cities are so interconnected and that was one of the problems that we saw in paris, these people were able to slip into paris from other countries unnoticed. under the agreement they have, there are essentially no borders between these european countries, there are checkpoints and sometimes people are stopped but it is very easy to travel between these countries. >> and, alex, just give us a sense of where you are now, what
there. convoy. we're on foot. all the roads are empty. the police have set up a perimeter around the airport. no vehicles are being allowed in. but people are being allowed to come and go on foot. we have seen some travelers, some of the thousands who were presumably trying to get out of brussels airport this morning leaving the airport trying to get back out to the highways and i would imagine get a car to go back into brussels. but we are approaching the airport. it is the scene of confusion, there's police tape, lots of sirens and emergency services all around the airport and i would imagine the same scene is playing out now in brussels with the closure of that metro system. they have said that they have shut down the entire system and not just the stations that were reported to have been targeted
to be paralysis in the belgian capital. lots of traffic, nothing moving in the metro and a lot of confused and scared people. >> alex, i should mention we're getting word from american airlines, you mentioned one might have taken place in a terminal where american airlines operates out of so the word is right now we are aware of an incident at the brussels airport departure hall and taking care of our customers, employees and contractors. at this time all of our employees and contractors are accounted for with no injuries reported. american airlines flight 751 has been canceled for today. when operations at the airport resume we will recommend -- reaccommodate, rather, our customers so american airlines there addressle flight 751 and many of its passengers and crew members who were likely to be at the airport this morning. >> of course, 25 minutes ago the brussels airport did tweet that passengers that are still located in other areas of the
and to wait for further information. alex, you mentioned you're seeing many so of these passengers stream out. is it large crowds of passengersy do you get a sense that there's still -- they're still at the airport because those are the pictures we have earlier of large crowds, just kind of floating around trying to figure out where to go or what's going on. some of them emotional talking to authorities. and really it just seems like everybody is still there. what is your sense? >> well, initially it was a trickle but that's because we were further away. now we're closer coming up on what looks like the main perimeter around the airport. a lot more people, a lot more of a police presence and more passengers. i'm looking at a man now clearly wounded, wrapped in a blanket. he has a gash on his leg. it is bloody and so he would be one fof the many wounded at the airport this morning. the scenes we're seeing are not chaotic of they're relatively orderly.
suitcases away from the airport. confused. not knowing where to go and see people getting on to buses who will be taken away from the airport. they were trying to fly at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 in the morning when most of the early flights of the day are taking off talking about thousands trying to leave this airport who had packed into that departures hall and who are now not able to fly. many wounded and so we are seeing a steady stream, really a river of passengers with their bags leaving the airport trying to figure out where to go. >> our alex marquardt is at the airport in brussels where several have been injured and at least one person is dead but we're also getting this report from the associated press. an ap reporter saying several people injured in explosion in brussels metro near the eu offices.
place at three different metro stations this morning, one of them, the stations we're told by our producers here located just one stop apart but more importantly, one of them is the exit sean entry point for the european union, alex, so it does appear very much as if this is a coordinated attack this morning. >> reporter: that was the major fear and in the past few months after paris. paris, of course, showed us all that these types of highly coordinated and very deadly attacks can take place under the noses of the police. it had been in the plan -- in the works for a long time and get the authorities were not able to pick up on it. 130 dead at the end of the day at major sites across paris. the fear out of that, intelligence officials in the uk, in france saying that they feared more of the same. but not just coordinated attacks within one city but coordinated attacks across cities so when
at 8:00 at the airport this morning, if you're an intelligence official, immediate assumption is going to be where else could this be taking place. we as a news organization we're thinking where else could this take place? and on our way walking to the airport, the first reports came out of explosions at the metro. so this does appear to be a coordinated simultaneous attack, targeting the belgian transportation system, the airport airport, zaventem, one of the biggest of brussels referred to as the capital of europe, this is not only a very tactical attack but very symbolic. >> and the terror level going to maximum level in the wake of the airport explosions, now we have the reports of the three more explosions on the three metro stations, the entire subway system closed at this moment. give us another sense of what's going on there. you're seeing the crowds of passengers leaving the airport.
scene. not chaotic. are people visibly bway. i would imagine it's pretty jarring and getting word of city. chaotic. i mean that people are not screaming -- running around of concern. you can see it on their face, orderly. i should highlight that. these explosions happened just under two hours ago and people are still streaming out from the airport by the hundreds. by the thousands. but it is very orderly. people walking very calmly, obviously no smiles on their faces but you don't see too much trauma. there isn't much crying or screaming so what they're going to be trying to figure out now where to go. they can't take their flights out of here and likely hearing
taking place in brussels. the police are funneling them away from the airport towards an overpass and we're see more and up. >> so, alex, let's -- i'm going to ask to pull up that map once again to show you a sense of where we're talking right now. terror has struck the european capital, you would say, of belgium this morning and it first started around i'd say 3:00 east coast time, 8:00 belgium time getting this from the prime minister of belgium saying there were two explosions in the departure hall around 8 a.m. local. that's about 3:00 eastern time here in the u.s., the possibility of a terrorist attack is being investigated. our priority is to secure the area. there have been many injured. the level and threat in belgium has been raised to four, the maximum alert with special
airports, stations and nuclear plant s plants but also releasing that statement but that came out prior to the word of the other explosions at the train stations this morning. >> we should mention injured have been taken to a hospital where a crisis plan has been activated so the city reacting to what is going on in brussels this morning. the metro stations are closed following records of those explosions on the three different subway stations, all separate from one another following the two explosions and the departure hall of this brussels airport around 8:00 a.m. the time as alex explained peak time for people to be moving through the city, commuting through the city and now everything is coming to a close. transportation shutting down. >> alex, we should point out we're getting word that other airports understandably around europe are being beefed up at least with security. heathrow, of course, in london, charles de gaulle, of course in paris, many of these airports
understandably after this morning's incident. >> reporter: we're -- the belgian prime minister put out a statement confirming the explosions at the airport this morning. in the departure hall saying right now it's the possibility of a terror attack that is being investigated. in mention of possible attacks in downtown brussels but has been raised to 4, its highest alert level with an emphasis on transport hubs and nuclear plants as you just mentioned. confirmation at least one --
metro stop and there are reports from belgian media there were two others, as well. >> we'll give him a quick break and on the phone abc's consultant john cullen who is our terrorism consultant. john, can you hear us? >> yes, i can hear you. >> it would appear to be a worst nightmare playing out in belgium. >> yes, it appears things are not going in the right direction. if one explosion possibly could have been something that was un unrelated to terrorism but if the reports are true, that there are multiple explosions, taking place in multiple transportation facilities, this would have the earmarks of a terrorist attack. >> john, can you give us a sense of your reaction to this in light of the recent events with the recent arrest of salah abdeslam? >> well, we've been hearing warnings from law enforcement and intelligence authorities for months now about their concerns that there could be hundreds if
europe, united states and canada who have been inspired by the ideology of groups like isis. while the arrest in brussels was a welcome sign from the standpoint of the terrorist attack in paris, that should, you know, that doesn't diminish the fact that it's a significant threat facing europe that remains. >> and, john, as we keep you on the line we have new video we want to call up here in a moment of the smoky subways as we mentioned and look at that. what a horrifying scene that is right now. this is the scene playing out just within the last half hour or so in downtown brussels. one of three metro stations that were attacked this morning. it would appear to be attacked where you had three explosions go off and smoke billowing out of that location right now. john, i don't know if you've gotten a chance to look at many of the images that we're getting. i know it's fairly early but any sense when you look at the
there of the explosions there at the airport, any sense of what might have been used or how this might have happened? >> it's too early to tell and the investigators are obviously looking at this first and foremost, security authorities are going to try to gain control of the situation. they are going to, you know, provide aid to those who are injured at these locations but they have got to figure out if they're more attacks coming and stop those attacks for the safety of the citizens in the city are going to be the most important factor on security official officials' mights at this point. >> can you walk us through what security officials will be doing right now. we know the terror alert was raised to the maximum level after the explosions, the metro completely shut down and airport being evacuated. all flights canceled or diverted. nothing is going on there now. so what are authorities going to be doing as we speak in reacting
right >> because they're unfolding they'll try to get people off the street. if you haven't seen it you'll see a massive influx of uniform law enforcement and military personnel. particularly around where people congregate. this is a difficult one because authorities have already been saturating the community trying to arrest people associated with the cell that conducted the paris attack. so from an investigative perspective, they're already, you know, knocking on as many doors as they possibly can. i think right now, what you're going to see and they may require some assistance from the outlying areas you're going to see just a massive, massive security presence on the streets of brussels. >> once again we're talking with abc terrorism contributor john cohen joining us on the line
took place and rocked the capital of belgium this morning. and, john, you know, we're getting these reports at one of the subway stations or metro stations attacked near the european union office there is in belgium and also you have this airport that was attacked. any significance that you could kind of glean at this early hour of the locates that were selected? >> i think, you know, it's early, that will all come out through the investigation. but these are places where they kong get great and in particular if an attack plan had to be speeded up because of the arrest over the past several days then people who are carrying out these type of attacks will go to places where they can blend in with others, can go to places where there are large crowd so this cause as many casualties as possible.
that, you know, if you can shut down the transportation infrastructure of a city you shut down the city. and there's no other way to have the most dramatic impact on a community or a city like brussels by shutting down its transportation systems. >> you know i first want to emphasize the possibility of a terrorist attack is being investigated, nothing has been confirmed. nothing been said beyond that officially by the prime minister, the word from the prime minister from a spokesperson this statement that was put out a little earlier. we know the threat level was raised to the highest level. we know before this, john, that the threat level was raised. it just wasn't at the highest level yet. given that context heading into this morning are you surprised at these -- if these were attacks that they were able to be carried out at an airport at this airport and at these subway stations? >> yeah, i think, unfortunately, nothing much surprises me anymore. you know, we've been hearing
our network and others about the concerns that there was a much larger presence, a much larger set of operatives, you know, located in that city and in that region. again, this shouldn't be a surprise to anybody necessarily because there have been concerns that have been raised by european union officials, the u.s. officials over the last several months about just the breadth of the threat posed by those either recruited or inspired by isis and other terrorist organizations. >> we want to get the very latest that we have, confirmable as of abc news right now so you have two explosions that took place at the airport around 3:00 eastern time, roughly 8:00 belgian time this morning. all airport operations suspended and evacuated. some kind of incident involving the brussels metro. we believe three different incidents at three different locations, that is what we're
it's been quite a morning so far there in brussels. >> we should mention according to the ap at least one is dead in that brussels airport explosion, there are numerous injuries at both the airport and the metro station near the eu headquarters according to the ap what we know of the damage or the reported damage in the wake of these attack -- or excuse me, these explosions. we know they're explosions but not whether they're attacks yet. according to the prime minister's statement but as far as the injuries and -- that have resulted there are numerous at both the metro and airport and one dead. >> you said there's been a lot of chatter with a lot of the networks that you guys deal with. you've been hearing that there might possibly be a plot? >> yeah, i think they were reporting yesterday from belgian officials that some of the results from the interviews that were taking place with
arrested of late gave them -- caused concern that there was an existing network out there associated with those that carry out the paris attacks and additional plots may have been in the process of being planned. that said, you know, i think unfortunately the times we're living in right now and based on everything we've seen over the past year, year and a half, just has to, you know, we just have to remind everybody there are people out there that we may not know about that security services may not know about who are intent on committing an attack in the name of ideology, the ideology of a group like isis so this is just in the sense the new normal waneand we -- it's a very real possibility in city as cross europe and the united states. >> so give us a context of what you expect to be the reaction in cities across europe. i know i have a statement from the heathrow spokesman saying that we take this safety and
colleagues very seriously and in light of the events at the brussels airport we're working with the police at heathrow who are providing a high visibility presence. they expect flights to the brussels airport to be affected as you would suspect considering that all flights have been canceled at the brussels airport. so obviously other airports reacting. how do you expect europe to be reacting this morning? >> you will see an increase in security across the european union, i suspect. you will see -- there will be an impact on flights throughout the region and perhaps internationally. you will likely see an increase in security presence in mass transit stations and other potential so-called soft targets or people locations where people kong get gait. i think we will also -- i mean american officials will be monitoring what's going on, as well. there are a large number of flights that come to the united
and obviously they will be wanting to evaluate whether there's any security implications to the u.s. >> all right. that would be john cohen joining us, former dhs official joining us on the very late e. john, thank you. we want to reset for everyone who might be tuning in at the top of the hour this is abc news special report following the horrible morning that it's been so far in brussels, belgium. the scenes you're looking at right now is the main airport there, international airport. you see the location there. it's roughly about six miles northeast of the center of the city. this morning about 3:00 local time. 3:00 eastern time two explosions rocked the departure hall of note an american airline flight was getting ready to take off in about an hour or two when these explosions took off and there were many passengers who were probably in the departure hall at the time. we are told all of those folks are safe but there are several
there and there is one death and then come an hour later these reports -- >> reports of three explosions at three different subway stations and the metro is closed and the city is on the maximum level alert after these multiple explosions and we know that from the prime minister's office a spokesperson saying that the possibility of a terrorist attack is being investigated at this point. i also want to mention i noticed that vice president of the european commission has tweeted, following the situation in brussels eu institutions are working together to ensure the security of staff and premises, please stay home. >> let's pull in richard clarke joining us at this early hour. richard, thank you for joining us here. you see this. thoughts? >> well, i think this is likely to have been pro-voked at the specific time by the arrests in brussels. it looked like the belgian
round up the gang that was still left was finally closing in on them. and the people who perpetrated these attacks today probably thought they had very little time left to do it before they were caught because of the evidence that the belgian police were getting from their raids earlier in the week. but if there are multiple attacks that means there was still a rather large cell still out there and the belgians only lately said that publicly that they thought there was a -- still a large cell out there and this is obviously evidence that there was. there will be a lot of criticism now of the belgian police for taking this long after the paris attacks to find this gang. they'll also be a reaction here in the united states at some airports where people worry about the security before you get to the airport, before you
this is the very vulnerable part of the airport where you get out of the car and walk up to the desk. no security there normally. so what happens at some airports in periods of tension is they start inspecting cars as they drive into the airport and that backs up traffic. we may see that happening here in the united states today. >> okay, and you know i want to ask too we have these reports from the belgian media of the three explosions at three other subway stations. can you talk a little about your reaction to the potential of brussels? >> well, i think in this sort of situation we have rapidly reported incidents. we have to be very careful to not give them all credible. we don't really know yet what happened. the person -- as i say every time when one of these things
reports as they come in. there's always mistakes in every situation like this. there's mistakes about what has actually happened and what people think has happened. if we have attacks, however, both at the airport and on the metro, that means at least one cell as been operating with it. i assume these are suicide attacks but we don't even know that yet so all we can say for now is there was still a cell left that the belgian police had not rounded up. that cell felt under pressure. thought they might be rounded up soon. therefore probably moved forward with every attack planning they were doing and carried it out today. we'll find out during the course of the next few hours actually what happened. >> you do get a sense this is at least -- has all of the signs
that took place this morning in belgium. >> well, if it's true that there were attacks at more than one location, obviously then, you know, it was a coordinated attack which is what they like to do, what al qaeda likes to do and isis or da'esh has picked up on that technique to throw an entire country into lockdown and fear because you don't know what's going to happen next. you don't know how many attacks there are, police don't though where to go and stresses the system enormously and, you know, we hope this is just in belgium but we know that the belgian network did have ties into france and elsewhere in europe so all europe, all of europe will be on high alert. >> we do want to say that just into abc news a spokeswoman for brussels transports has confirmed there wassen motion on
local inside one of those subway stations, i'm going to pronounce it wrong, maelbeek, the correct way? >> yeah. >> so we do know one of those has been confirmed, the station near the eu and official buildings so this is a confirmation that we have at this hour. your reaction, richard? >> again, to be cautious about first reports, but if that's true and we do obviously know because we can see it, there was an attack at the airport, then we have a cell that's attacking different points in brussels just as they attacked in different points in paris simultaneously, possibly suicide to try to lock down the entire city. >> richard, why belgium, about this is an attack? why here? >> well, because they live there. it's most likely that these people lived in the molenbeek
neighborhood of immigrants from north africa for the most part, an arab neighborhood where there was high unemployment, high discontent. where people felt ostracized and where isis had obviously put down its roots and since the attack in paris which was linked to that neighborhood in brussels, the police have really clamped down in that neighborhood, have begun raiding houses, trying to find the remaining cell and obviously they flushed it out. didn't get all of it. flushed it out. flushed it into an early attack and i think now that neighborhood will be under even more pressure from police that where there are people in
feel resentment because of the heavy police presence. so this has been a neighborhood that's been a source of concern for american and european security people for years because of the support for isis, support for al qaeda in the neighborhood. and the discontent in the neighborhood. >> richard clarke. his take on what is playing out. we want to cross over to the english channel and talk to lama hasan joining us from london and lama, i do believe david cameron shortly just moments ago made news over there, as well in london. >> reporter: yeah, good morning to you. yes, prime minister cameron did tweet saying how shocked he was at the attacks that have happened this morning in brussels. we also got through to heathrow
close proximity to brussels and knock-on effect that happens, we spoke to heathrow airport that told us that there is a heightened security alert. visible heightened security officers that are on patrol at heathrow airport now. now, as you have been talking all morning this is breaking news and the details are only just coming in. we are hearing that there has been at least one explosion at a metro station in belgium, possibly three and this, of course, comes -- after several people have been killed. we're hearing possibly ten in total and many more injured after that suspected terror attack at brussels airport this morning. two explosive devices reportedly detonated at american airlines check-in desk. there are unconfirmed reports at this hour that shots were fired, again, these have not been confirmed but this is what is
fired and words in arabic were shouted before the blasts were heard, the airport is said to be as you can imagine on lockdown. all flights are canceled and rail traffic towards the belgian airport has been suspended and this morning's incident comes just days after salah abdeslam, a suspected planner in the paris attacks, that, of course, killed 130 people last november we saw that dramatic showdown, that dramatic arrest on friday after a four-month hunt, manhunt, the fear was, of course, and the warning was that more attacks would take place not only in brussels but around europe. now, we are hearing that the terror alert in brussels has been raised to its highest level. back here in this country, the terror alert has been at severe which means an attack is highly likely. primarily because there have
europe, thousands of fighters going to iraq and fighting on the front lines. the fear is across europe, those fighters fighters, those jihadis would carry out attacks like we're seeing in brussels. >> what other reactions are you seeing in london and how are people reacting to the news coming out of brussels you mentioned the reaction at the airport. >> reporter: as i said we were expecting something quite spectacular not only in belgium but somewhere else as well the threat levels have been raised to its highest but have been expecting an attack. when you talk to people and talk
it but they say that it's thought when an attack is going to happen, it's not if it's happen, it's when so it was expected. something this spectacular, especially since salah abdeslam, there was a warning that after he was arrested some big attack would happen. >> and lama, while we've been talking with you we got word that david cameron said he will chair a meeting of the government emergency cobra committee in response to the explosions in brussels. are you familiar with that committee and what does that mean? >> reporter: that's exactly right, yes, the c.o.b.r.a. committee meet at -- with prime minister david cameron and talk about current issues, especially when it comes to terrorism. they will discuss the attacks today and how to move forward and also how to fan out all the
here, just in case to be prepared for another attack because this country has seen attacks in the past notably in 2007. so we are expecting something not something of this scale but quite large. you can imagine the conversations they're having today as we were discussing when we spoke to heathrow airport, that decision to put out more officers visibly, more security officers and heightened security london -- >> thank you for joining us and london. we want to bring in global affairs correspondent martha raddatz who is joining us right now on the telephone. martha.
>> reporter: good morning. i just remind you that when the attacks in paris happened we quickly dispatched to brussels so i spent a great deal of time there during the highest terror alert when they expected and attack. that city was in complete lockdown. i'm sure you will see ha in the coming days. because of these apparent attacks in the brussels airport at a metro station, as well also goes to the fact that terrorists can strike no matter how much security is out there. no matter how high the alert and around there because of abdeslam, the city, of course, was on alert as well and still the terrorists apparently managed to attack very high-profile places. >> these are soft targets, not only high-profile, they're fairly soft targets, martha. >> reporter: they certainly are
woke up this morning and saw the airport has been hit, a place where the security is extensive, if you are in an airport, if you are there before security almost anything can happen. the airport too in those areas is a soft target and certainly a subway or a metro station is, as well. >> what would you be expecting to hear in terms of a u.s. rewrakz in the wake of this. >> reporter: i'm sure all over washington, people are being awakened. they're aware of this attack. they're trying to coordinate with their european counterparts. certainly trying to coordinate with all the appropriate agencies here in the city to see what they can do to see whether the alert level here should be raised. again, what is so alarming about this attack is that it was expected.
out anyway, despite the security, despite the warnings and people going all over that city looking for people who might want to commit an act of terror. the arrest of abdeslam, it was stunning to people that he was still in brussels. i don't know, obviously, we don't know all the details about where he had been in the interim between the attacks in november and these apparent attacks but they were looking for him full time. it took many, many months. if people want to carry out an attack it's clear they can. >> martha, we'll keep you on the line but switch down to times square and to abc news chief anchor george stephanopoulos who is joining us at this early hour to continue the coverage right now. george. >> okay, kendis, lauren, thanks very much. we are continuing this coverage of a major terror attack in europe this morning in brussels, belgium.
brussels time at the airport. two explosions at the brussels airport near the american airlines departure lounge, two explosions in rapid succession. at least one explosion at the brussels metro station, as well. several casualties reported. right now brussels media reporting the 13 people have been killed. at least 35 injured. the airport now has been closed. you see the destruction and the metro system has been closed and the leader says the whole country is on the highest state of alert. you see the streets of brussels right there near where the i want to go to abc's alex marquardt on the scene in brussels. alex, take us through what you know beginning with the airport. >> reporter: good morning, we're standing as close as we can get to the around. the police have put up a perimeter around the area and for the past two hours since these explosions happened people, thousands of travelers who were supposed to be heading out this morning have been
we spoke with one eyewitness, who was flying on an american airlines flight this morning who said that the explosion happened around 30 yards from where he was -- he thought it was closer to the delta air lines counter because he normally flies delta. very close proximity. many eyewitnesses who we have spoken to have said they saw bodies on the floor. we know that there are wounded and dead, as you mentioned, the number being reported right now is 13. that according to the belgian federal prosecutor who is speaking to the belgian media. other eyewitnesses talking about a scene of total devastation in this departures area. the explosions, one smaller than the other, the other bigger taking place just after 8:00 in the departure area and also understand it was near a starbucks. of course, this couldn't have time. this is a tuesday morning as thousands of people are trying to fly out of one of europe's
this is obviously one of the most secure locations in brussels and then shortly after that news came of more explosions in the brussels metro which we now know has been shut down. george. >> and alex, you said the metro station has been shut down as well and reports of injury in the metro bombing and now everyone in belgium has been ordered to basically stay in place. >> reporter: they have. this is a country that is very quickly going into lockdown mode. there is a lot of chaos. you can imagine that they've -- the entire city is paralyzed when you shut down the metro system like that. we spoke with someone from the interior ministry which runs security yesterday about what we could expect to see, what the fears are in the coming days, weeks and months after the arrest of salah abdeslam on friday. he, of course, was the lone survive ago tacker from the paris attacks and the interior ministry spokesman told us two options, this will trigger attacks or you're going to see
wait for the pressure to ease up. what appears to have happened was that first option. what appears to be going on right now is not just one terror attack but coordinated attacks and we saw that happen in paris, of course, 130 people killed at different locations, some of the most famous locations in paris, the stade de france during an international soccer match, the bataclan theatre where the eagles of death metal were playing so that was a highly coordinated attack, very well planned and fear of european intelligence officials since then is that something similar could again take place. not just in one city like we saw in paris and what we appear to be seeing in brussels, but also that gives you a sense of chaos going on here. lots of cars flying by with sirens on. as i was saying intelligence officials worried there could be simultaneous attacks not just in one city but across different cities.
>> go ahead. >> the french prime minister warned after the attack that the risk of an attack is as high if not higher than before paris. this was not only something that was feared this is something that has been expected for quite some time. >> okay, alex, i want to bring that to our chief global affairs anchor martha raddatz as well on the phone with us. martha, you were on the scene in molenbeek, belgium, which has become the hotbed of terrorist activity in brussels in those days after the paris attack and as alex was just saying we knew after this arrest of salah abdeslam earlier this week that another attack was very possible. >> reporter: yes, in november, george, when we were there after those paris attacks that city was on absolute lockdown. there were fear, really every minute that an attack was imminent and in fact that is exactly how they worded it, that an attack was imminent at the time. throughout the city there were
the square outside the hotels, the city was a virtual ghost town. really no one went out which is exactly what's going to happen now. and yet these attacks went forward, many popses later, we don't know the connection, certainly, but they were certainly aware and thought that an attack could happen any minute in brussels and, again, these are as highly protected as an airport is. that security is on the inner sanctum of those airports. you have to go through security but you can go to a parking lot. you can bring in explosives, you can bring in weapons and it appears that's exactly what happened at the brussels airport today, we have fewer details on what exactly may have happened in the subway, the metro there, but clearly some sort of coordination despite the threat
all of these agencies in brussels looking for suspects, looking for people who might carry out an attack like this. >> that's right. alert levels will be raised across europe. to richard clarke, former counterterrorism czar. a lot are mystified by a couple thing, one it took so long to find salah abdeslam in belgium several months after the paris attacks and two after the arrest that the cells could still be so active that they could carry out what looks like attacks just a couple of days later. >> reporter: i think that's right, george. in the postmore tem of this attack there's going to be an awful lot of criticism from the belgian police and law enforcement people in general and the country that it took them four months after the paris attacks to find the perpetrator of the paris attacks and that they couldn't find the entire cell network that he was connected to. obviously there was a cell network, some of them were rounded up last week, but obviously some of them were still out there.
were involved in perpetrating this attack. were they suicide bombers? or did they place bombs, how many people had come in from outside of the country? perhaps from syria or how many of these people were natives who grew up in molenbeek? but there will be a great deal of criticism that when they knew something was going on for months they were unable to uncover it. >> and, richard, how can you explain based on your experience given all the focus on that molenbeek neighborhood, given the entire security apparatus of belgium and much of europe focused on there to try to break up the cells to capture salah abdeslam, how they were able to keep these cells active and operational. >> it's remarkable. what it suggests is that the belgian intelligence and police authorities have almost no access to a city in their own country, that they didn't have cooperation from the community,
their own people on the inside that they couldn't break in and that even electronically with e-mails and telephones, they were unable to make the connections. now, that one thing that could mean is that the cell was very sophisticated, knew it was under surveillance and was using very, very good security procedures. but it is remarkable, molenbeek is not a big city. and for a cell like this to be able to survive all this time when the best of the belgian police and law enforcement people had them under a microscope is remarkable. >> based on your experience, richard, we know the president in cuba right now wrapping up his trip to havana. what will be happening right now inside the white house and national security apparatus in the wake of this attack? >> so, the homeland security adviser will have convened a meeting probably that meet something by video conference, connecting the headquarters at
counterterrorism center, at the fbi and other agencies so there will be an ongoing meeting that will last all morning. while they "a," try to find out what's going on and "b" to figure out how to help and "c," is there anything we need to do in our country, martha mentioned the vulnerability of landside portions of the airport. landon side is the term for everything before security, so you know when you drive up to the airport you get out of the cab you go up to the counter or kiosk, all that area is a very, very vulnerable area. we had an attack in los angeles several years ago where someone shot up the area of the land side. question will be what do we do at our airports just in case something might be planned here, what do we do at our airports to very, very difficult job. >> okay, let's bring that
former new york city police commissioner. ray kelly, the new york city police have dealt with so many terrorist incidents in the past and based on your experience what will be happening here in new york right now after this attack? what kind of measures will be taken to protect vulnerable sites? >> well, i'm sure key personnel have already huddled in the nypd. the department is uniquely suited to put a lot of uniformed people on the street as quickly as possible. it's an awkward time now by them. you'll have the change of tours about 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. and the ability to put a lot more uniformed police officers on the street i think one of their goals will be to raise the level of the traveling public. you'll see uniformed police officers on the subway. the port authority is the department that's in charge of airport security, so the port authority have said they can also increase their uniformed
at kennedy and laguardia and newark airport and, of course, there will be also reaching out to investigators, working closely with the fbi. investigations that are ongoing. they'll be wanting to tweet those investigations to see any information, anything at all that indicates the possibility of something happening here. they'll be listening to chat rooms, checking into chat rooms and websites that sort of thing to measure the reaction but their number one goal right now will be to increase significantly uniformed police presence on the streets of the city. >> and, ray, one of the big questions when you deal with the airport and soft targets of the airport. how far can you extend security without paralyzing air traffic completely? >> well, yeah, that's a good point but i think the departments themselves are not
situations. so it's going to be difficult to increase that uniformed presence at the airport to a significant degree. and i don't think you going to see at least at this juncture a lockdown but you're going to see all available people in uniform at these locations at least to give out a sense of security. that there are police presence and you're going to see obviously, look, a much closer checking, as dick said, yeah, the airport, the landside of the airport has always been a concern. you have ready access and you can check a bag that's not being -- that's not being examined. you can check a case or a large package right at the entranceway
it's a significant vulnerability or even a car driving right up to the front of the departure area so, look, let's face it we have lots of vulnerabilities and lots of vulnerabilities at airports in particular. what we try to do now is to as much as possible raise a couple of level of people who have to get on these airplanes. >> former new york city police commissioner ray kelly. a little after 5:30. want to bring you up to speed on a major terror attack in brussels, belgium. two explosions at the brussels airport. 3:00 a.m. here in the east so zaven tempt em airport near the departure lounge in rapid successsuck succession and 13 people killed and the metro system as well. the in et tree system closed. airports have been closed.
in place in belgium right now i want to go to abc's alex marquardt who is on the scene and we've been looking at these pictures, absolute chaos at the airport this morning, alex. >> reporter: not just chaos but watching still now two hours after these explosions thousands of people streaming out, some very emotional. others less so because they were farther away. it's quite cold in begg. there are lots of people with airline blankets wrapped around them. the people we've spoken to inside talk about a scene of total devastation. blown out windows and ceiling tiles that have fallen on the floor. this explosion taking place in the main -- in the center of the departures hall, various people told us it took place near a starbucks near the delta air lines counter, of course, just after 8:00 this was peak travel hour. lots of people checking in and lots of people landing here at one of europe's main airports. >> and, alex, has there been any
officials this was indeed suicide bombers? >> reporter: not yet. at this point they are confirming -- they say they're looking into it being a terrorist attack, of course, there's acknowledgement that there is, the latest death toll we heard is 13, we don't know what the breakdown is between the airport where the two explosions happened and in the metro system. there's been at least one explosion confirmed at a belgian metro stop but there have been reports in the belgian media of more. we should note this is not just a belgian capital. this is what many call the european capital. the head of -- the base for nato and the european union is here. three american bads in the city, one for belgium, one for the eu and one for nato so this might be a smaller second tier european city compared to places like berlin, london, paris but this is an incredibly important business and political hub and so that is the significance of
this is not just something that's happening in a big belgian city but these are -- these are attacks some of the most highly secured areas in a city crucial to europe. >> become home to a dangerous network of terrorists as well and bring that to john cohen, former counter terrorism official with the united states government and, john, molenbeek, that neighborhood in the middle of brussels, a hotbed of terrorism apparently salah abdeslam was able to be kept safe there for several months despite the fact that you had every national security official in europe looking for him. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, george and i think what this -- if this turns out to be an attack in paris and san bernardino all illustrate is just how the terrorist threat has evolved. we now have people who have become inspired on what they've seen on social media communicating with other terrorists through encrypted communications channels and the
officials are having a lot of difficulty finding these people identifying who they are and arresting them. so, you know, this is the challenge that people like fbi director comey have talked about and other security officials have talked about but seeing another potentially seeing another example of that. >> we know with the paris attacks some of the people involved were able to move back and forth between europe and syria to keep communications open across those borders. >> that's right. we have built these very robust counterterrorism capabilities. we, the united states and europe that very much depend on us being able to pick up communications between operatives say in europe and others in other parts of the world. if operatives in brussels or paris or other parts of europe or the united states can operate without having to use those traditional communications channels it makes it that much
>> how could they go around that. >> as we have heard, they float around on social media until they find potential recruit candidates and move them into an encrypted communications platform whether it's commune -- encrypted voice or encrypted texting or e-mails. but the other part of it that is so difficult in some cases there are no communications, we have people who are living in communities who are becoming inspired by what they're seeing on social media becoming increasingly radicalized who may be communicating with others locally and, you know, the first time we see them or identify them or hear from them is when they carry out an attack. >> that would be the san bernardino example? >> exactly right and this is something that has increasingly caused concern amongst law enforcement in this country, it has increasingly caused concern amongst law enforcement and security officials in europe and this is the new element of the
continue to think about it and deal with it the same way we dealt with it in the years past. >> and at the same time, though, the attacks in paris and don't know much about this attack according to the french president were actually conceived in syria or organized overseas in belgium and carried out in france. great cross-border capability here. >> exactly right. part of the issue is that there's freedom of movement across the european union. it's not that difficult once you're in the our union to get into turkey, get into syria by crossing land borders, it's very difficult to track people and the other difficulty is once you're in the european union you can move freely throughout the european union. so one of the problems that officials are dealing with over in europe is how you bring about greater controls, greater security in the border area
can prevent this type of free travel. >> okay, john cohen, thanks very much. back to alex marquardt in brussels right now. on that point, alex, we now have heard the entire train system that would be running through brussels, not just the metro system but entire train system has been put on hole, as well. >> reporter: all public transportation, george, has just been shut down, we've learned from the belgian government, that's on top of the metro system that we knew about as well as the buses which are very popular in brussels and the train station, the train. brussels has trains that go directly to paris and london on the eurostar and also understand that has been shut down, the airport, we had to walk here by foot because everything -- the perimeter around the airport has been shut down, as well. there's traffic that has come to a standstill on the highway so this is really a paralyzed city, george. >> you mentioned earlier you
just the capital of belgium but in many ways the capital of europe and we're just learning right now that all european union institutions are now at alert level orange, all meetings on premises and outside are canceled right now. concern of follow-on attacks. >> reporter: and they've told staffers to stay inside, as well. absolutely. this is -- when people talk about this being the capital of europe that's no exaggeration. it's because all of the institutions are here, not just the embassies of major countries but the european union and nato. this is absolutely crucial capital to the functioning of europe and then at the same time you have this enclave of molenbeek that you've been talking about that is in central brussels that the authorities have really no penetration into. the question that everyone has been asking is how has someone like salah abdeslam been able to evade capture for four months? right under the noses of police? when he was taken down, in that dramatic raid on friday amp,
about four or 500 yard as way from where his family is living. that's the same neighborhood where he grew up. we know he was able to escape from paris the night -- the day after the paris attacks and so for the past four months we understand he's been moving around brussels. now how is that possible? that's simply because the belgian authorities have no penetration into the neighborhood almost. there's a lot of solidarity. there's a lot of animosity towards the police. we felt some of the animosity >> tell me about that. what is that neighborhood like? describe what the streets are like, who's there? you say you felt some animosity when you were there. how is that expressed? >> reporter: george, just anecdotally you know i lived in the middle east and i felt like i was back in the middle east. all of the shopkeepers are arabs, a lot of them north africans from algeria or morocco, a very quiet working class neighborhood. there was animosity towards the journalists because there were
that there were a lot of friendly people, as well. it's many of the residents there are a conservative muslims and security experts have talked about this becoming -- that area being a breeding ground for jihadists and belgium has sent more fighters to iraq and syria to join isis than any other european country per capita. there are around 5,000 to 6,000 fighters from europe in iraq and syria and around 1,000 of them are from belgium and many of them are from molenbeek. now, the question is how come they don't have the penetration into that neighborhood that you might have in a place like new york or in a place like london? that's because as one former intelligence official told me yesterday there's less of a sense of civic duty towards -- with the police. less of a relationship with the police. you see that famous slogan. if you see something, say
subway. that doesn't exist here in europe. there's a lot more independence and keeping the police at arm's reach and then there's also the sense of that they don't belong. they don't feel that they're connected with belgian society. there's huge unemployment so that is what has been fermenting this rise of radical extremists from this one neighborhood really in the center of brussels. >> and, alex, we're learning the u.s. embassy has recommended now that all americans, all american citizens on the scene in belgium right now shelter in place as well because all of belgium now on the highest possible threat level, threat of an imminent attack in belgium. >> reporter: that's right. we're seeing right now an alert from the u.s. embassy here in brussels, remember i mentioned there are three different diplomatic missions by the americans here but the embassy is one of the biggest ones and they are saying they're reminding american citizens that
that is the highest threat level which indicates a serious and imminent attack. now, we have seen shelter in place warnings elsewhere when terrorist attacks take place. this is obviously an indication that they believe that more attacks could take place. right now what we know we had the two explosions at the airport, just after 8:00 this morning and then at least one attack on a brussels metro station, the entire public transportation of brussels now shut down. >> and, alex, to go back to those attacks at the airport, two explosions at the airport, give us a sense of the extent of the damage that you've been able to glean from eyewitnesses. >> reporter: one eyewitness we spoke with pretty emotional was due to fly out to montreal and said it was a scene of utter devastation was the wording they used. they had been upstairs when the last happened. they came downstairs, they saw
that had fallen down, i asked whether there had been dead and wounded they saw and they said there were bodies -- there were bodies that they saw and, in fact, we have seen some of the wounded coming out. we saw a man wrapped in a blanket with a gash in his leg so this is what -- this was a double explosion. we understand that one was smaller than the other. one eyewitness who spoke very good english on his way to the states flying on american airlines said that the explosion took place around the area of the american counters, you have the american airlines counter next to the delta air lines counter which he would normally fly. he thought it came from about 30 yard as way where the delta air lines counter was if we're seeing the police vehicles moving through belgium right now. belgium on the highest state of alert. i want to go back to ray kelly, the new york city police commissioner and, ray, the new york city police have developed their own intelligence networks
>> oh, yes, that's true. new york city police officers in paris and in london and madrid but not in belgium but obviously there was a network where information flows and in europe despite the fact that we don't have people in every major city, but it's important conduit for the department and it gives them a relationship throughout europe really throughout the world. it's proven to be very effective. i think hindsight is 20/20 but in terms of recruit many you'll see a lot of miss departments in europe not having sufficient representation of some of these minority communities and as was said before, that that means they don't have the connectivity they'd like to have in some of these minority neighborhoods. >> that's something you've had to work on at the new york city police department.
force so you could be active and really in the middle of these communities. >> precisely. there are new york city police officers born in 106 countries and that gives us an awful lot of capability to talk to people and to bring those people into the -- continue to bring those people into the department. so, it's something that i think has to be looked at very seriously in europe because they will admit to you that it is a deficit. something they need to do a lot more of. >> okay, ray kelly, thanks very much. i want to go to our chief global affairs anchor, martha raddatz, in washington right now. martha, you spent time in that molenbeek neighborhood after the paris attacks. several months ago and we just heard alex describing the real animosity they felt up side that community which was appears to have been harboring terrorists for several months. >> reporter: it sure does, george and truly when you go
very careful, there is animosity when you go into those neighborhoods and commissioner kelly's point, i think what has to happen here is better intelligence in those neighborhoods. there is the protect our own. there's also i should bring up people may be under threat. if this terrorist attack was planned in that neighborhood or elsewhere around there, there may have been the threat of death if anyone turned them in. this also points out as we've said again and again this morning, the vulnerabilities no matter how much attention you put on some sort of imminent terror attack, no matter how many police officers you spread throughout a city, spread throughout europe, there are these soft targets and an airport indeed can be a soft target on that outer perimeter when you enter an airport, there is really no security other than the presence of guards and sometimes and it's apparent this
can do anything. >> well, that is what is so chilling about this, martha. you were talking about earlier, the takedown of salah abdeslam earlier this week predictably a trigger of a follow-on attack, yet nothing can be done to stop it. >> reporter: exactly right, george. i mean, we do not know how large a network this may be. we don't know how many people were involved in the planning and carrying this out and obviously you've got brussels on alert. europe on alert. you have officials here who are talking about what to do next and to do what they can to try to top this. when i was there in november, shortly after the paris attacks in brussels, that city was shut down. there were armored personnel carriers on the street everywhere you walked. there was a security presence. was there an attack planned for that period of time and that was stopped? we just don't know that. at the time they said they
maybe that stopped the attack now but certainly didn't stop a terrorist attack many months late. >> martha, you have just returned from the middle east, as well, where the fight is being taken to isis in iraq in syria, major escalation of the air attacks against isis. even as we're seeing some progress against isis there inability to completely control them throughout europe and maybe even here in the united states. >> reporter: this also points 0 out that the military alone is not the answer. there were very dynamic attacks against isis in syria, in iraq, we tracked some missions from beginning to end. we watched spy planes go up in the air over syria. we were on an awacs plane up over syria watching the migs that they carry out again and again and there really has been an uptick in those missions, george, hitting far more targets because the intelligence has improved in the military campaign.
military campaign. you can go after those sources of money, you can go after the fighters on the ground in iraq and syria, but it's the ones who cross the border who carry out these attacks and there may be a correlation, george. there may be a correlation between the military fight picking up, them losing many, many fighters, them losing -- isis losing some infrastructure and others crossing the border to believe they must carry out terrorist attacks to get more effect to go after civilians, to go after those soft targets. >> yet one of the theories and one of the hopes is if isis is crushed in the middle east, that will take away the source of the inspiration around the world. >> reporter: boy, the source of inspiration is really hard to stop. only need to look online. you only need to hear these stories from our john cohen and others talking about the recruitment online, talking
isis is successful, that unfortunately inspires people as well. >> okay, i want to bring john cohen back. thank you, martha raddatz, to get into that point of you were talking about earlier, john, how they can communicate across using encrypted networks that re-open the debate in the united states over how much the government should be able to get into our phones and in order to try to crack this encryption. >> yeah, absolutely, george. we have a tough problem as it relates to encryption. on the one hand legitimate companies even our own government depends on it to protect our economic and national secrets. on the other hand we are seeing terrorist organizations and criminal organizations use these same technologies to pacific their communications so industry and government are going to need to come together on this one and it's a tough problem but they need to solve it.
some of the possible solutions? >> well, i mean i think you're starting to see -- i mean that's going to be for the technologists and operational folks on the government side to come together and talk about. i mean there are real concerns about building back doors into these encryption capabilities, there are those who feel that would compromise their legitimate use on the other hand, you know, the -- we've just witnessed the apple fbi discussions, the fbi was seeking to have apple relax one of its security measures that would wipe the data clean so that they could use their techniques to break the encryption. but this -- what we need to do, george, we need to bring the technologists and business leaders and come up with solutions. >> immediately today, john, talk about what will happen in airports here in the united states and other airports across europe in the wake of this attack.
earlier, i suspect that already you have seen homeland security and law enforcement officials from this country getting on the video teleconference together talking about what they know, talking about what the -- if there's any additional intelligence, dhs will be considering whether there needs to be any increase in security at airports in this country out of an abundance of caution. but customs and border protection is probably looking at flights that have left europe already and are rescrubbing those passenger manifests just again to make sure that no one slipped through the cracks who may have connections with terrorist organizations. >> okay. >> we may see increased screening of cargo and passengers at all last points of departures in europe just again as an increased or an abundance of caution to ensure that people aren't able to put things on
cause an aviation type of incident. >> that's always been one of the biggest concerns that explosives could be put in cargo holes and go undetected. >> yeah, absolutely. and the department of homeland security and customs and border protection and tsa have worked very closely with the airport authorities and security organizations in those last points of departure airports. that's the key issue from a security perspective for the u.s. are planes traveling directly to the u.s. from a european or other city so, again, with this incident and particularly since this involved the use of explosives and please sieveexplosives at transportation falls tsa already is coordinating with their colleagues in europe to see if there are additional security measures even if they're temporary as it relates to the screening of passengers and cargo coming to the u.s. >> john, we've also seen efforts in the united states to get to
can carry out any kind of activity to have homeland security actually engage in these communities where young violence. >> yeah, george, i mean this is a major priority for the fbi. it's a major priority for state and local law enforcement right now. we are -- we've seen several examples. san bernardino but also the stabbings that took place in the university of california campus not too long ago. it requires a very different approach than the one we've used in the past and require local police working much more closely with others in the community. and i know that there's been a lot of effort by the fbi to expand their abilities in that area, again, working with local communities. >> i want to bring that back to alex marquardt in belgium. this morning, we talk about -- you were talking about the animosity inside the community
perhaps towards the police, as well and this is going to reignite the entire debate over the migration of refugees entering europe from the middle east, we've already seen some backlash there across europe. >> reporter: absolutely, george. we've seen evidence that several of the paris attackers were able to slip into europe on those refugee routes. abdel hamud died in that dramatic paris -- that raid in paris in the area of saint-denis two days after the attack and bragged to an eyewitness who spoke -- who he spoke with that he had come into europe with 90 would-be suicide bombers so this was already before this prospect of more terror was ignited was a controversial issue and this will do even more -- this will
the conversation even more and we're seeing that play out now because of the million ss who have poured into these countries and these countries are saying we can't take any more people because the support systems aren't there and then as you say this will reignite the debate over whether some people -- >> we have seen now the terror the british prime minister is cone convenienting the emergency committee saying they'll do everything they can and the threat level in britain now is severe. also alex, the french president francois holland holding a meet. they've been under a state of emergency since the attacks. >> they've extended it twice and
warning from the u.s. embassy here in brussels to american citizens to shelter in place and noticed the threat levels they are have been raised to four which means a possible imminent attack, what we know now from the belgium prosecutor 13 have been killed in these attacks this morning between the two explosions at the airport and in the metro system. the entire metro system has been shut down along with the rest of the public transportation across brussels that includes trains that go in and out to other country, so right now brussels has been completely paralyzed and isolated because no one is going in or out of this country. >> o. alex, thanks. back to ray kelly if he's still with us on the phone, the former new york city police commissioner. we're learning apparently ray is not with us right now but we are learning from the new york police department to expect a
across the city right now in the wake of these attacks in brussels, belgium, to recap right now as we come up on 6:00 a.m. here in the east coast, there's been a major terror attack in brussels, belgium, this morning. at least two explosions at the airport at the brussels airport at approximately 8:00 a.m. brussels time 3 a.m. on the east coast, two explosions in rapid succession which killed at least 13 people at the brussels airport. three dozen injured. a separate he can explosion, at least one separate explosion in the brussels metro system and now the entire country on the highest state of alert warning of imminent attacks, france in a state of emergency extended, britain has also raised their level to severe right now across europe, fear after these explosions in belgium. this morning, abc's chief global affairs anchor martha raddatz with me as well and we can
national security team this morning. >> reporter: certainly can. american authorities across the agencies here in washington are going to be coming together to try to figure out what we can do next. they'll be coordinating with their european counterparts to try to share intelligence, see if anything is planned for here, but obviously what we've seen here this morning, george, is no matter how much attention you put on this, no matter how hard you try to penetrate terrorist networks, it simply does not always work. >> okay, martha raddatz, thanks very much. want to go back to brussels right now, speaking it tao wongbae. you were at the airport. you were near the departure lounge when the explosions went off? >> yes, yes, in terminal b. i was on my way to liberia and i just passed the security when we
and we were being rushed and pushed away to the exit so we can evacuate. >> what did you see and what did you hear? >> well, i didn't hear -- from abc news in new york, this is "america this morning." >> good tuesday morning. i'm lauren lyster in for and breaking news in belgium. you've been watching abc news' live coverage of the terror attacks that had the entire city of brussels on lockdown. and good morning, i'm lori stokes. >> and i'm ken rosato. this is still a fast-moving story that we've been following for several hours now