tv Eyewitness News This Morning ABC March 22, 2016 6:00am-7:00am EDT
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
now, at least 13 people have been killed in a series of explosions at the international airport and underground on subway tracks, all flights have been canceled in brussels and train traffic halted. belgium has also raised its terror threat level to its highest, a 4, meaning that another attack is likely and immeant z nent. >> let's get the latest from darla miles who's in the newsroom right now. >>reporter: well, ken, it's not just one bomb, but a bombing campaign that has rocked belgium. the country is now at its highest terror level. two bombs at the brussels airport has killed 13 people and seriously injured 35, perhaps more. now, the explosions reportedly took place near the delta and american airlines counters in the main departure terminal. the city's system is shut down after an explosion in one metro station near the headquarters of the european union. news reports in brussels have
other metro stations but that has not been confirmed at this time. all of this comes just days after the arrest in brussels of a prime suspect in the paris attacks and the naming of a new suspect. one person who was waiting at the check-in says he was rocked by the airport bombs. >> it was first a small explosion, maybe something like that and a few seconds later a very big explosion, and the registration -- there was a lot of smoke and completely destroyed, sprinklers spraying and so on. >>reporter: now, security has already been tightened at the airports in paris and london. european security officials have been bracing for a major attack for weeks and they warn that isis was actively preparing and, ken and lori, this seems to be it. >> thank you so much, darla.
brussels airport. we go to mallory hoff live here at kennedy airport. mallory. >>reporter: that's right. and i do want you to take a look right now. we are outside of arrivals and departures. and i was nz a few moments ago and what we're not noticing is anything out of the here. of course this is the most vulnerable part of the airport, the area where you pull up, you get drop off, the area you've before you've gone through security. port authority we've learned is assessing the situation at airports and trying to decide on any potential additional security measures. but, again, not seeing anything out of the ordinary right now. there are direct flights from kennedy to brussels that are operated by delta airlines, brussels airlines and asiaa airlines. again, inside a few minutes ago, nothing out of the in other words here. again, we've learned that nypd is manager the situation. they said we are aware of this situation and continuing to monitor for further developments. what we do know is you can
major new york city locations, a standard upgrade there, subways, major transit locations. again, all of this we're being caution. we do expect further details on this later today as we know other european airports starting to beef up security. heathrow airport in light of the events, brussels airport said they're working with police to provide a high heathrow. and, again, here this morning, going. when i was inside a few minutes ago, dispeak with a few people who are planning on flying out today. they say they're just trying to keep up wt information coming in. they say, of course, there's anxiety here, but they're hopeful that, again, flights will take off, come and go today, but, again, a lot of folks still waiting to learn what their future travel plans are. but their thoughts, hopes, prayers and concerns are, of course, with the folks in brussels. we are live outside of the airport, mallory hoff, channel 7 eyewitness news. >> all right.
as mallory just mentioned, the nypd is also monitoring the security situation, but we have no reason to believe there is a threat right here in america. this is new video, however, from outside the bell june consulate on the east side -- belgian consulate on the east side of manhattan where there is an nypd cruiser park outside. -- park outside. stay with abc news and channel 7 eyewitness news for the attacks on belgium. "good morning america" will have live reports coming up at 7:00. we want to get a check now on your accuweather forecast and the commute. you're never more than seven minutes away and amy freeze is in for bill >> lori, ken, good morning to you. 36 degrees is what we have right now. and we'll see our wind chills staying really in the upper 20s to low 30s, not just for this morning, but much of this day because of a gusty west wind so currently at the park we will see these numbers that are in the mid-30s climb pretty quickly and will make it into the low 50s. that'll be a change for us. 24-hour temperature change from yesterday at this hour to today is about 5 degrees cooler in
so it is a chilly start, again, but with the sunshine, we should warm up pretty rapidly. also skies look great. a mix of sun and clouds as the sun comes up just before 7:00 a.m. in central park we play the next several hours out, and we shall be in the upper 40s just at the lunch hour, so 47 is the projection. and we'll look for those temperatures to continue to climb. and if you've heard the rumors, it's true. we're looking for the temperatures to go into the mid- to upper 60s as early as tomorrow. i'll have those details in just a few minutes in the accuweather seven-day forecast. right now a look at the rose. debbie duhaime is standing by with a look at your this morning. >>reporter: good morning to you, amy. good morning, everybody. we'll start off on the subway, tell you about the 6 train. 6 train everything back on track, the overnight track work cleared, all of the subways running smoothly. no problems to report lirr metro north or new jersey transit. fdr drive south in the 70s construction just wrapping up. so moving okay here now on the fdr drive south into the 70s. over on the bruckner south at the hunts point bridge in the bronx, it's a stalled car to watch out for. and heading over to hoboken,
updated on air and we built our factories here because of a huge natural resource. not the land. the water. or power sources. it's the people. american workers. they build world-class products. and that builds communities. and a better future. for all of us. because making something in america means so much, to so many.
updating right now the bombings in brussels and we're getting word now that 23 people are dead and dozens more injured. reports say that 13 people have been killed at brussels airport alone and 10 people have been killed in the subway system there. the first bloodshed was at the city's airport where two bombs went off near the delta and american airlines terminals, and that was followed by a bombing in a rail car in the city's metro system near the headquarters of the european union. we continue to update you on the acceleration of security all across europe following these attacks. owe news now, 6:11. in other news this morning, a 49-year-old man is under arrest accused of shooting and killing a bodega owner yesterday. harold patterson was arrested
they say he killed the man at a mini mart on allison street. the 64-year-old owner died at the hospital. johnson now being held on $1 billion bail. police looking into whether speed may have play add role involving a bus on the fdr drive. nearly nine people were hurt while exiting the fdr at 34th street. the bus drove up onto an abutment before slamming into a pillar. one person was strapped in the bus and had to be carried out on a stretcher. nobody on board was seriously injured. a rutgers student is being treated for a contagious and potentially deadly infection. the school says an unnamed student has been btioned with bacterial meningitis. the student has been hospitalized since friday. in a campus-wide release, the school has urged anyone who has come into close contact with the student to be treated with antibiotics as a reprecaution. 6:12. the battle over privacy between apple and federal investigators is being postponed. the fbi saying that it actually
data on a phone belonging to san bernardino attacker syed farook without apple's help. federal prosecutors made the announcement last night, postponing a hearing after the government said there was no way to get to the data on the iphone without apple's health. >> we take you now back to abc news and george stephanopoulos and the very latest on breaking news and the bombing in belgium. >> metro system this morning, downtown, now the entire country of belgium has been put on the highest state of alert, warning of another imminent attack right now. airport closed, metro system closed, transportation systems closed. everyone has been ordered to stay in place. i want to go to alex marquardt who's on the scene at the airport in brussels. walk us through what happened earlier this morning, alex. >>reporter: george, just after 8:00 in the morning, two explosions ripped through the departures hall of brussels zaventem airport. this is one of the biggest
this, of course, is one of the peak times, as, of course, thousands of people are traveling out of brussels and into brussels. we understand one explosion was larger than the other. we spoke with an eyewitness who was flying to the states on american airlines. he said the explosion happened about 30 yards away from him, coming from the direction of the delta airlines counter which he normally flies, so he airport. we also heard from other eyewitnesses that it took place near a starbucks, so this really was the center of the departures hall where so many people were traveling from today. and so over the course of the past two hours people have been streaming out of this -- out of the airport, talking about scenes of total devastation, of debris absolutely everywhere. some people were clearly in a state of shock, very emotional. we saw airport staffers embracing each other, people coming out of the airport wrapped in, you know, those airline blankets that we all see on the planes.
some people are trying to get direction from the police officers who have there's a lot of confusion, not much at this point, not pandemonium, but it's confusion and concern, because as you can imagine, everyone here at the airport has started to learn about the other attacks report, reported attacks taking place downtown in brussels. >> alex -- >> >>reporter: and here at the airport >> what do we know about those attacks on the metro system? >>reporter: there have been three reported by belgian media, one confirmed by a belgian official. it's unclear how many people were killed in those attacks. we know that two of the stations that were reportedly attacked were near the seats of the european union and of the belgium government.
it's not like paris where those attacks in november took place all over the place. brussels is relatively concentrated. this main airport is only about 10 miles from the city center, so what appears to have happened is a number of coordinated attacks at different metro stations in the center of brussels, all near these important buildings, so not long after we got word that the aviation system was shutting down, all flights grounded here and all flights diverted, we quickly got word that the entire metro system was shut down and then all of belgium, brussels public traption. the only way in and out of this country right now is by road. we've seen lots of traffic on the highways, bumper-to-bumper traffic as people try to figure out what's going on and get to safer places. >> as you point out, small city, the capital -- brussels, a small city, not just the capital of belgium,
capital of europe. >> >>reporter: it's often called the capital of europe and that's really no exaggeration. it has -- this is the center of operations for so many of the political bodies, whether it's nato, whether it's the european union. i was mentioning to you earlier that america itself has three ambassadors here, one for the country, one one for the european union. and so this is very a city that politicians turn to to direct the business of europe. this is where the european parliament is. so while many might consider this to be a second european city after places like london and berlin and paris, this is an extraordinarily crucial country to europe. >> okay, alex marquardt. we want to go to chief global affairs correspondent martha raddatz.
since the paris terror attacks and, that molenbeek neighbor has become a network to terrorists and sympathizers. >>reporter: it has, george. in fact, when you walk in the neighborhood, you can feel some source of animosity when you get there, but this is the neighborhood where police have concentrated. this is where abdelslam was arrested just the other day, very near where his mother lived. this is what is astonishing. all this concentration of police, of military over these months, they thought an attack was imminent. when we were there in november, they had those armored personnel carriers on the street, and yet an attack was carried out. we don't know the connection, we don't know whether he had anything to do with this, but certainly authorities suspected something might happen, that he or others were planning to carry out a large attack. one of the things that i think will happen now, george, if this was a suicide attack, and
probably figure out pretty quickly who those people were. they're no doubt doing forensics as soon as possible on the bombs in the airport, on the guns in the airport. we don't know yet where the suspects are, who carried it out, whether they were killed, whether they escaped, those are the kind of things that they're dealing with now on the scene. u.s. authorities certainly getting involved, authorities wanting to know what's happening, but the brussels authorities have their hands full right now. they are trying to prevent i am quite certain yet another attack if they think that is imminent. the terrorists have shut this city down. we saw it shut down for days and days and days when we were there, the city in lockdown at the time. i'm sure that's what you'll see now. the u.s. embassy is telling people to shelter in place, they can't get any where because the metro system is shut down as well, and i believe this airport will probably be shut down for days and days. they will want to know whether
planted some place, how the terrorists got in there, the outside of that airport is indeed a soft target, but they're going to want to know if anybody perhaps penetrated any other part of that airport, any other part of that metro system. this is going to take a very long time, george. >> okay, martha, thanks so much. let me bring in richard clark, former counter counterterrorism for several presidents. as martha said, we're not positive this is a suicide bomber, although there have been some reports in the belgian media that the belgian federal prosecutor has confirmed that the explosions at the brussels airport were carried out by a suicide bomber. if that is indeed the case, then you see -- i guess richard clark is not real estate. let me bring this to pierre thoms who's with us. you see there was very similar methods to what we saw in paris. >> exactly. we spoke to a european law enforcement official a few months ago, and he talked about the fact that there were hundreds, if not thousands of young men who they believe had
made their way back into europe. they knew that isis in particular had been trying to develop cells to do just what we saw take place in paris. now u.s. law enforcement officials have been deeply concernd about what's been happening overseas in europe and have now stepped up operations here. i think in the next few days you will see stepped up police presence throughout cities like new york. the tsa and other law enforcement agencies will be looking at security here, ramping tup, you'll see more dogs, you'll see more law enforcement, heavily armed law enforcement at airports just to make sure that they have a show of force to tamp down anything that could develop here in terms of copycats. >> let's bring that to david curly international airport this morning. david, what are you see thrg on the ground? >>reporter: george, i just lost you but i heard you ask what am i seeing here. let me give you the big picture overall. new york airport authority says they're aware of the situation. it really is kind of a wait-and-
airports and at metro stations and mass transit areas here in the united states. they know what has happened. they're assessing whether or not they need to add on additional security at this hour. i can tell you that in new york at some of the metro stations nypd has said that they will have additional officers out. i have talked to one airport, a major airport in the united states, and they've said already out of an abundance of caution they are going to put some additional officers, some additional k-9 units in the airport. so you may see an increased presence. but at this point security officials here at airports and mass transit are trying to figure out what really happened in belgium. was this a one-off attack, does is actually pose a risk to the homeland? they're trying to assess that before they ramp up security significantly. i've lost you, george. i'll send it back to you. >> david, thanks very much at reagan national airport. let me bring that to pierre thomas as well. we have heard from the new york
going to be enhanced police presence across the city right now. but from the reports in belgium right now, the explosions occurred outside the security setup by the security officials. how far can you extend that perimeter? >> that's the question that will be asked today. i was thinking about it as alex gave his report that clearly they wanted to get an attack quickly after this arrest, that's what u.s. law enforcement officials were assuming this morning when i spoke to them. and the quickest way to do it and to make a big splash, if you will, is at an airport. they were apparently concerned they couldn't get through the airport security, so this did it on the outside, a so-called soft target. >> so these cells, they wouldn't necessarily need to communicate with anyone else, they could simply be inspired by the attacks and see and take matters into their own hand? >> exactly. right now u.s. officials i spoke to have no specific information that anything is planned here. what they will be most concerned about is the potential for copycats, sympathizerses here in the united states that would want to act out on what they just saw base -- what they just saw in brussels.
the united states that so many of these people who might be inspired by isis and others can learn to communicate in a way that is kept secret and to go in a way that's dark. >> to this day law enforcement officials cannot get inside the phone that was used by one of the suspects. also, with the san bernardino attacks a big ongoing fight between the fbi and apple about the issue what's inside one of the we heard the fbi is pursuing another route to get to the information inside those phones but it's stunning that u.s. law enforcement with all the technology available cannot reach the enchristian on some of these phones. >> in the meantime, we learned the entire -- most of europe on the highest state of alert. back to alex marquardt who is in brussels this morning. near the airport on the scene. we know that belgium is on the highest state of alert and
france racing the threat level, >> reporter: that means this morning the threat level when we woke up was a threat level 3 high alert and short a after they raised it to 4 which means there are fears of another imminent attack. not something that they do callously or casually but something they do in light o what happened and obviously because of the fears of possibly more attacks and soon after that the u.s. embassy triggered by that warning from the belgians put out a notice to its citizens that threat level had been raised to 4. what that mes is already in cities like brussels and paris, you have an increased police presence, you have an increased military presence and that's -- we haven't seen that in years in europe. to see soldiers in camouflage in flak jackets with their automatic weapons patrolling some of the pose famous sites in the world like the eiffel tower, the champ elysees is jarring for
the residences but they're quiet in the background patrolling. what you'll see with that terror threat raised to level four is a more vocal, a more stronger presence checkpoints everywhere for example around the here in brussels. you will avery a perimeter set up and people checking bags, checking i.d.s and checkpoints on the roads and after those the entire public transportation shut down so the belgian chances. >> okay, alex marquardt, thanks very much. alex at the airport also an explosion in the brussels metro this morning. ian mccafferty was near that maelbeek. can you tell us what you saw and heard? >> yeah, of course, i just -- i was at the met to station one
was detonated at arts-loi and we heard a loud muffling reverberation inside the metro station and cloud of dust was in the air. people started picking up the pace trying to leave the station pretty quickly because a lot of construction goes on and you have to know so sometimes there's loud noises that we can't really give reason to -- but it was only when we started getting to the top of the stairs we noticed the soldiers eagerly evacuating the metro station at which point more panic set in. some people started running, some people started crying, some stood still in disbelief and tried to make sense of whatever was going on. there was a quite deal of confusion, i have to admit. >> could you tell, did you hear one explosion or two? there's some reports there were more than one. >> i have to admit at the time i wasn't even sure it was an
it was this loud muffled thud and a shake throughout the station. there was nothing clearly for us to say it was an explosion. at the time we still didn't even know. i only heard one loud muffled thud like that. you have to realize the metro stations are actually quite chose to each other here in brussels, it's not like it is in new york or a little bit further away so we're only a tone's throw from the explosion itself so people are just trying to get information, they rememberwere on hand to evacuate the stations. the area itself is known as the european quarter. where the european commission and council are all based. so there's normally a high security presence anyway especially in light of what happened back in november and obviously the capture of salah abdeslam on friday in brussels
heightened security measures. >> and, ian, excuse me, interest where you were did you see any injured, any casualties? >> no, i didn't see because there was just slightly further down. obviously we have been keeping a close eye on what's going on on social media and a colleague of mine, in fact, was at the next station down and she has been sending us messages. she's -- she's seen a lot of injured people taken from the station and she's quite distraught about that at the moment. >> what else has she been able to tell you about what she's seeing? >> saying she's -- kind of on a lockdown at the moment. everybody is being advised to stay inside the building. one of the european commission buildings right beside the metro station has been completely evacuated. most others we have people in them, however they're being advised to at the time they're being advised to stay away from the windows and nour this he
indoors and the police and the army are just assessing the situation as far as we're aware. >> ian mccafferty, thanks very much. coming up on 6:30 on the east coast and continuing our coverage of a major terror attack in europe this morning in belgium. two explosions at the airport in brussels this morning. two explosions shortly after 8 a.m. their time, 13 people have been killed. several dozen injured. a separate explosion at the brussels metro, the maelbeek station of the brussels metro talking to ian mccafferty a witness a block away. i want to go to abc's david kerley at reagan national airport with more on the kind of precautions being taken here. >> reporter: as i mentioned earlier a lot of security officials here in the united states waiting to see what actually has happened, what the target was, what the motivation was but you will see additional security at airports and mass transit areas around the country today. just out of an abundance of caution.
other things about what happened in brussels, u.s. airlines do fly that that airport. there was some discussion about these bombs inside what at the call the entrance hall. this would be you walking into the terminal near where the ticket counters are. was any one of those airlines targeted. one official said they don't think tear airline was targeted but the bomber may have been looking for the biggest crowd of people and may have detonated there or detonated a bomb there. but i can tell you about delta air lines which had two planes going into brussels. one from atlanta has landed and it has been moved to a remote area and is waiting to deplane. a second flight from new york has been diverted away from brussels and is landed in amsterdam, so brussels, the center of everything, brussels itself being shut down. the planes that are there off to secure areas, those that were going at this point being diverted tory airports. >> what will happen with all those planes that took off from brussels this morning like the delta flight you just mentioned,
go through now? >> reporter: the screening will probably be the same. i mean everybody is on heightened alert. when you hear something like this, the tsa agents, police officers, the canine units that work in the airports will be hierapoliser vigilant and see that all across the country. the question is how many flights will actually go to brussels? the ones that haven't taken off for brussels will they actually stay on the ground in the u.s.? may they possibly go to other airports in europe to get somebody close to where they want to go if they're trying to get to belgium. >> david, you cover aviation for us, you cover tsa, as well. it appears that, you know, the attackers in brussels went after a point of major vulnerable, any airport, that perimeter before you get into security. >> reporter: yeah, absolutely. this is the nonsterile area that security officials call this. i'm here at reagan national in washington, d.c., and, yes, right now anybody can walk through those doors into the ticketing area and that's true with just about every u.s.
the world, it isn't until you get to the security checkpoint and try to cross into the sterile area where you're actually checked by authorities. now, you will see police up and down near these doors but they're not checking everybody going into an airport as you and i have seen every time we fly. >> okay, david, thanks very much. want to go back to brussels right now. joining us by skype is zois zoisheftalovich. apparently we don't have zio yet. martha raddatz, our chief global affairs anchor and, martha, you know, still trying to run do you exactly who perpetrated this whether or not it was indeed a suicide bomber. what we do know is there was a great concern after the takedown after salah abdeslam earlier this week, one of the perpetrators of the paris bombings this could trigger on a follow-on attack. >> reporter: very worried about
will probably find some correlation between those two events, whether his arrest triggered these attacks, whether they were going to wait to carry out attacks and that because he was arrested, whether they thought he might talk, whether they thought they might get some sort of information out from him, they may have gone ahead and carried out these attacks, you know, i'm watching piece pick -- when you see that police presence, it really can back in november when they had police all over the streets, when they had soldiers all over the streets, it seemed like an attack that was supposedly imminent at the time, was prevented but what happens is these terror cells then go dark, they go silent, they don't communicate anymore because they know that people are tries to track them down and trying to listen, but eventually they come out and try to carry out the
planned for some time. if those were suicide bombers, if there was a suicide bomber, they will know who those people are undoubtedly within days, within hours if they can track back and that is the real problem. think about terrorist attacks a long time ago and think about hijacking, it's so different in this day and age because people do not seem to care whether they die in the process. whether that's a suicide bomber, whether that's a gunman who knows he will get killed and that is the kind of threat we're facing now and that is why this is so, so difficult. you cannot have perfect security. excellent point, martha raddatz. want to bring that to pierre thomas here, as well. homeland security here, the fbi, constantly monitoring those who they think might be preparing to the united states. what kind of increased scrutiny will happen afterwards. >> the fbi will look at all the suspects they have been
were about 100 that were under very intense monitoring by the fbi, intense surveillance, they will go back, look at those people and look at the threat matrix anticipate all the intelligence, was there something that they might have missed that could be a precursor to an attack here in the united states but really i was speaking to an official recently, he talked about the fact that europe faces an existential kind of threat mainly this since in the span of a year, charlie hebdo attacks in paris then the attacks in paris in last november, now this. so they are now looking at a new normal in europe. and u.s. officials are concerned that that could spill over here in terms of people being inspired to do something. >> smaller scale attack on the train as well. brian ross our chief investigative correspondent joining us as well and, brian, one of the things we saw that has differentiated perhaps the attacks in europe from those we saw here in san bernardino, we know that paris attack according to the french president was
he said organized in brussels, carried out in france. it took something of a network. >> reporter: exactly. a directed attack from the beginning. organized out of syria, in fact, isis has organized its foreign fighters into battalions based on language and country of origin so there are french, brussels, belgian units, german units, uk units, even an american unit and the great concern, of course, those other units at some point could be activated as well. george, you know, the airport areas before security have long been considered one of the most vulnerable targets because there are people -- soldiers roam the area but no real hard security. anybody can have access to an airport area. as people go to the ticket counter to check this those are vulnerable.
matt, talk about the kinds of precautions that will be taken across the united states right now in the wake of these attacks in europe. >> well, certainly the fbi will work closely with their counterparts in belgium to learn as much as they can. that will mean as you suggest that there will be security precautions taken here at airports, i think we'll see stepped up security at transportation hubs, the kinds of things we've seen in the past in the united states when there have been attacks in other places, similar to what we saw late last fall in after the paris attacks. >> and what kind of coordination was it with the european intelligence? >> well, certainly -- there's a long-standing relationship european intelligence, european services and the u.s. services. that's been going on for a long time but it's been stepped up over the past year with the threat in syria and in particular in response to the foreign fighter flow which is
where you have thousands of fighters traveling to syria and then back into europe. >> let me bring back brian ross as well. investigations of these kind of connections, so much concern that where learn interest some of the paris attackers they were able to go back and forth between syria and europe. >> reporter: that's the astounding thing even though alerts up, number of the people in the french attackers were wanted by the french police, they were interpoll notices -- they were able to go back and forth to syria primaryily through turkey. some came in as refugees, supposedly coming out of syria into greece and then albuquerque so there were serious issues about the ability to control the borders and talked after the paris attacks about tightening those borders and making it less easy for the terrorists to find a way into the country and the ability to go back and forth is something i think you have a
do in the u.s. but in europe, the borders there are very porous. >> to jon karl traveling with the president in cuba this morning. jon, the president was expected to continue his trip through this afternoon and go on to argentina later this week. what do we know about what the president has been told and his plans? >> reporter: no official word from the white house yet but, unfortunately, this is something that's become awe too common. i am certain he was informed virtually immediately of this. his homeland security adviser lisa monaco is tasked with that traveling on to argentina but does have many of his top national security advisers with him including white house national security adviser susan rice, secretary of state john kerry is here on this trip, as well. so i am sure this is something that is front and center for the president although no expectation that the actual schedule of his trip will be changed, in fact, he's addressing the cuban people in
address later this morning. i imagine in the course of those remarks we'll hear something from the president about what happened. >> keep us posted. back to brussels. alex marquardt on the scene and, alex, now getting some report from the brussels transport that at least 15 people were killed, 55 injured just in the metro attack this morning. that means the death toll is likely to climb. >> reporter: it looked like the death toll now is closer to 30, george, waiting for final numbers but what we do know is that there were around 13 killed here at the airport which is just behind me, you can see a out. now this is almost three hours since these explosions happened and these are still travelers who are either landing or leaving still coming out. you can see it's very orderly. not much chaos but if you look at their faces, very drawn, concerned. a lot of confusion about to go. a police presence there.
everybody has been pushed away from the airport. in fact, no traffic coming into the airport so the police are trying to direct people away from the airport and then put them on buses or at least take them somewhere where they can leave. now that's going to be a bigger problem because it's not just the airport that's been shut down. it's the entire brussels transit system. after that attack, in the metro where we now understand 15 were killed. the entire brussels metro system was shut down. this is a crucial transit system for people who live in brussels, at this time of day to get to work and then on top of that the buses have been shut down and trains have been shut down so there's a lot of chaos on the highways around the airport. absolute gridlock. the belgian authorities after the double explosion at the airport raising that terror alert level from 3 to 4. the highest indicating they believe there could be a serious
>> alex, we saw the crowds streaming out of the airport relatively calmly just now but you were talking about scenes of real chaos at the airport after this explosion after these explosions were heard. >> reporter: total chaos. we understand from eyewitnesses inside that the explosions happened one after the other. there was one that was smaller and then that was larger. we spoke to someone checking in at the american airlines ticket counter and he said that the explosion came from the direction of the delta counter about 30 yard as way so trying to figure out now if there was -- if it was some kind of targeted attack if they were targeting the area where the american desks were, that's all very unclear but what is clear is that it happened in the heart of this departures hall. this would have been the area outside where the security was where you would take off your shoes and go through x-ray
and so that happened right back there. people have been streaming out this way and the people who we've been speaking with telling us that there was carnage, there was blood on the floor. people lying dead and wounded and tiles from the ceiling debris, everywhere, scenes of absolute chaos. >> alex marquardt in brussels, thanks very much. do we have richard clarke with us in washington, former counter terrorism czar. i want to go back to richard in washington. if indeed this was a suicide bomber at the airport, what would that tell you about the nature of the attack? >> well, the brussels authorities are now saying it was a suicide bomber at least one. that is indicative of the isis mode of attack. it probably means there was also a suicide bomber in the metro. ha this points out is the need
and the near impossibility of defending targets like metros, like the landside of airports. that's why intelligence is key here. penetrating these cells is key. if you don't penetrate them, catching them while they're about to do the attack, stopping people going into subway stations and patting them down it's near impossible. the new york city police tried for awhile to do random screenings of people going into subway stations. it was a very small percentage of people, very small percentage of stations. you really can't protect the metro system. you really can't protect the landside before security at an airport. and what that points out is if you don't have a good intelligence service that can either through looking at telephones and e-mail or through human activity penetrate these cells, you really can't stop these things. >> you know, there's been so
since the paris attacks even before especially on that molenbeek neighborhood of belgium, how do you explain why the intelligence services haven't been able to penetrate those cells more. >> unlike in the united states where there's ee northerlious cooperation from arab neighborhoods and from mosques from somali neighborhoods where we have parents concerns talking to authorities, apparently in many of the european countries and particularly in belgium, that's just not the case. that the -- these emigree communities from north africa and whatnot even if they've been there for a generation or more still feel alienated. they are very isolated. as in the united states there are neighborhoods but generally people can live anywhere they want and they do. but in europe they tend to concentrate in poor suburbs of
particularly among young men and there is a traffic between these neighborhoods and syria and they're able to slip across the turkish border in both directs to go there to get training to fight and then to come back and become sleeper cells. and the belgian police have not proven very adept at being able to penetrate these -- >> richard clarke, pierre thomas, you have more. >> piggyback on what richard said, the notion this suspect who was arrested this week was able to fade away and not be captured until four months later, i spoke too u.s. officials that was stunned. he cannot imagine that happening in the united states. if a terror attack happened that the suspect would disappear for four months. that speaks to the level of support that the suspect probably had but also that a sign that the authorities in belgium have some work to do. >> one of the most wanted men in the world. general allen is on the phone, the isis coordinate for the u.s.
ago, thank you for joining us now and what does this tell you about the capabilities of isis and what has been done to contain them? >> well, we've expected for a long time that we would see isil attacks occurring more broadly outside the region where they've concentrated, iraq and syria and stands to reason that they would seek to attack in the capitals of the coalition particularly the key members of it. to attempt to sow terror and attack the very cohesion of the coalition that is bringing in more into the country so this sis sis a strategic move and brussels is a strategic target and it appears to be the capital of europe in so many ways so this is not unexpected? how would you describe the state
middle east right now? >> well this, is one of the reasons that we're seeing these attacks elsewhere in the middle east because there's great pressure to bear on isil in the core areas, surface area has been shrunk in iraq and syria. its financial assets have been reduced dramatically. we're in the attack in the information sphere countering their message and narrative so not should not be unexpected that they're going to attempt to dissipate or a concentration and dissipate our efforts to fight them in the core area by attacking in the capitals of the coalition and belgium would be a very symbolic attack in brussels. >> do you believe isis is being weakened in syria, in iraq. >> i do, yes, i do. the military campaign there is picking up momentum. yes, and i do and in syria, of
successes comparing the syrian elements in the northeast of syria, in particular the kurds, well off the border from roughly iraq to the euphrates river and pressuring them now. >> okay, general allen, thank you very much. want to go back to martha raddatz, our chief global affairs anchor and heard general allen picking up on the point you were making. this could be a strategic response to the stepped up attacks against isis in the middle east and just hearing now from the belgian prime minister who is saying what we feared is happening and struck us if a cowardly way confirming the two terror attacks this morning and the -- we now know at least 28 have been killed in these attacks, 13 at the airport. 15 at the motor tree. >> reporter: and i'm sure they're bracing for more george, right now and that is the real fear here, whether another attack is coming after these two horrendous attacks at such high profile targets. we will find out what we can
our authorities as jon karl reported, the president has been briefed, other authorities, other agencies are being briefed, as well. and will look at any possible attack here although there is no information, none at all that any sort of attack here is planned anything specific in the united states, but what you always want to do is redouble your efforts, try to gather more intelligence, share intelligence with authorities in brussels, it's what we have done in the past and they are coordinating that as well as possible at this point. picking up on general allen's report in syria and iraq i recently returned from the persian gulf carrying out one after another air strikes and 50% of the aircraft would return without dropping bombs. it is hard to find targets in syria and iraq because they do
casualties but there has been a big increase in those air strikes over the last couple of months, my own experience going to an aircraft carrier many months ago to an aircraft carrier now and also an air force base in the region, they are really upping the number which means they have better intelligence which as we said may be pushing people across the borders to try to carry out this kind of spectacular attack. we also know they've searched about 100 houses in brussels and around the area since last november's attack, since brussels was in lockdown because of the fear of an imminent attack there. but these networks have clearly gone underground. there's clearly some sort of support system while they are underground protecting one another and enables these attacks to be carried out. >> okay, martha raddatz, thanks.
how do you deal with this dynamic that both general allen and martha raddatz are now talking about, the more apparent progress we make against isis in the middle east in iraq and syria, the more that could create counterthreats here in the united states across europe? >> yeah, i mean it's an excellent point. for several years isis has been employing sophisticated social media campaign to inspire and recruit people across europe and the united states, canada, australia, and there may be hundreds if not thousands of people out there in communities across europe and the united states who are inspired by the isis ideology and willing to act on its behalf. while our intelligence capabilities are tremendous, they focus on communications and interactions between potential attackers, and the command and control structure of isis. fbi and others are focusing now working with local law enforcement on building greater capacity in our communities, the europeans are doing the same thing in their communities so
witness behaviors that may be reflective of somebody who is inspired by isis, they report those people to authorities and authorities can take action. >> it's difficult to get that kind of cooperation we've been talking about especially in that molenbeek neighborhood of brussels. >> yeah, it's a challenge that's faced not only by authorities in europe but in the united states. there are a number of community tass are very close knit. there's distrust of law enforcement, distrust of federal law enforcement in particular so we have to change the way that we work with those members of the community -- the members of those communities and start building that trust. much. pierre thomas here with us, as well right now. the united states, homeland security, fbi, they fear attacks could be carried out. >> they felt they were most like i inspired by what they're country. law enforcement community has
those people, they are picking them off one by one. the fbi arresting more than 70 people in the last 18 months who they think had some sort of connection, ties being inspired by isis. increasing numbers of those, george, had gone from just planning to go to syria to actually plan ago tacks inside the united states. and, again, the biggest concern has not been the kind of sophisticated cells we're seeing in europe but lone wolves people like we saw in san bernardino who would just act on their own at least that's what they think currently. who swore allegiance to the leader of isis but no direction and control or finances as we know of at the moment. >> okay, pierre, thanks very much. over to jon karl if we have him in havana with the president. what more are you learning from the white house? sorry, jon karl is not with us right now. back to martha raddatz, as well. you know, president a little bit out of position this morning.
secretary of state john kerry with him in cuba this morning. >> reporter: they are. he's got really pretty much his entire national security team there and i'm sure they're huddled but always more difficult when you're on the road but i'm sure they're getting updates. they have been briefed. they will be in touch with their counterparts in europe to try to figure out what's going on. always difficult because they are in the middle of a crisis in brussels and have to attend to that first. the biggest fear here that there may be another attack planned at any time. they've clearly gone after substantial targets, the airport, the metro, they've closed those down and did that in the past when there was an imminent threat. that attack in november that they feared did not happen but again these terror cells go dark. they start communicating with each other probably in person
communications had probably be looked at, other signals, intelligence, whether on the internet, whether on the phone but they obviously have ways to communicate. another thing i think that will be looked at here is the number of migrants, george, and the refugee numbers are massive out of iraq and syria, people flowing over those borders, very hard to keep track of those. robin and george. >> all right, martha, thank you. i'll pick it up and back to matt olsen. we know the president is expected to address the cuban people today. we don't know if that will still take place. what are you hearing about how the government, how the u.s. government and white house is reacting what they're doing right now. >> what the white house is doing, what the government is doing is what they've done in the past when these attacks occur. first and foremost reaching out to the european counterparts finding out the facts on the ground but looking inward. how are we postured in the united states? what is the current state of the intelligence about isis inspired individuals in the united
how is the department of homeland security postured to protect sites like subway systems, train stations, other types of targets that we've seen in the past that terrorists have gone after so all of that activity is taking place. certainly going to be a great washington even though the president is in cuba looking at these questions today. >> all right. matt, thank you. dick clarke, you can understand people here in the u.s. are waking up, they're seeing what is happening in europe in brussels, their heart goes out to them but thinking about, okay, i've got to go to work and school. the concern here, here in times square we're seeing added activity. what can you say to people who are waking up anticipate hearing this news in the u.s.? >> i think the truth is that there's no threat in the united states that the u.s. government knows of of anything like this happening right now. we don't know of the presence of organized cells of isis in the united states.
were cells in europe and we did know there were cells in belgium planning this kind of attack. if you're thinking about going into the metro, going into the "t" in boston, that's probably safe. we haven't had any evidence of attacks being planned even though let's be frank, it would be relatively easy to do. that's why as i was saying a moment ago you have to get inside these cells, you have to detect these cells before they become active. because if someone wants to walk into the new york subway, the metro in washington, no one pats them down, there's no airport screening, there are no bomb-sniffing dogs on a regular basis, so the u.s. relies on intelligence and intelligence so far in the u.s. has been very, very good. >> it has, thankfully. all right, dick, thank you very much. we're going to take a shorten-second break right now to bring in the rest of our
we'll be right back. >> announcer: this has been a special report from abc news. good morning, america. at least three explosions rocked the capital of brussels this morning. a suicide bomber reportedly targets the crowded airport. >> there were explosions in the main building. >> ceilings collapsing. running for their lives. another blast rocks a metro station. just days after a major suspect in the paris terror attacks is arrested. americans in europe told to shelter in place. nypd set to ramp up security here in new york. the hunt is on right now for who's behind these blasts. >> announcer: live in times