tv WESH 2 News Early Sunrise NBC March 22, 2016 5:00am-6:00am EDT
the air side will have to remain where they are. >> i want to thank you so much for your reporting in london. i so appreciate you keeping us up to date with what is going on with this explosion coming out of brussels. live fromon with the updates of what's going on in brussels. this is an nbc news special report. here's matt lauer. >> and good morning, i'm matt lauer new york. we're covering breaking news out of europe this morning. out of brussels belgium to be exact. multiple explosions have been recorded at the airport and subway stops or metro stops around that city. starting at the airport. shortly after 8:00 a.m. brussels, 2:00 a.m. here on the east coast.
one around the curbside area near departure, that is said to have been a suicide bombing and then another explosion just inside the departures area. this would be an area we should mention, where you would not have to have gone through security to get into that area. so anyone arriving from a car or mass transportation could have gone into that area carrying a suitcase or a backpack and detonated it. and then a short time later in separate bombings there were several explosions in and around the brussels area. was one said to be in moleem beak. that is the area on friday are where salah abdeslam who was the alleged master mind in paris was arrested.
the question is was this retribution for his arrest? or perhaps were there accomplices already in brussels planning something else with devices in their possession who then felt because of his arrest their locations and identities might have been compromised so they decided to carry out some attack prior to what they have been planning. we've got several conflicting reports but at the moment we can confirm that one person has opinion been killed in that airport bombing. there were reports earlier of the injured being carried out on stretchers o awaiting balances. some people have said that some of the injured were carried on luggage carts out of the airport. there are some reports circulating that as many as 20 people may have been killed in these explosions.
throughout the area. i want to start with kelly, good morning. >> reporter: i'm on a train on my way into brussels about to minute. all traffic into airports has been halted. air traffic isn't getting in. road traffic. train traffic is not getting in. the area has been completely shuttle of you while emergency crews try to deal with all of the injured. as you mentioned we still don't know how many people have been hurt in this. but we are now it looks like dealing with several different locations. not just the airport but the possibility of people injured at brussels. metro has now been shut down and it appears the city coming to a standstill.
checking mobil phones listening for more information trying to figure out what the do next. we on this train have not been told anything as far as announcements over the intercom. again, continuing on into central brussels, this is ongoing. there were suspicion s s there could possibly be some sort of attack in the days of the arrest of abdeslam. belgian officials saying that abdeslam had indicated that possibly something else was in the works but he wanted to start something in brussels. but again matt we don't have any confirmation on whether or not this is in fact some sort of suicide attack or the details of how these explosions happened. i'm sure you have seen the pictures inside that airport. and absolutely devastating
blasting ceiling tiles, blasting windows, people injured from flying glass as well. and we frankly still don't know how many are injured or dead. >> kelly, thank you very much. and in addition to the people arriving at that airport to take departing flights, there were that airport. some of those people were taken and held on a tarmac area. they were then later seen leaving that tarmac area. you can see scenes of people calmly walking through the streets in and around that area. we should mention now that belgium is on the highest state of alert. this is not something terribly new to the people of belgium. unfortunately they have been living at the high state of alert since the paris attack. because there was peer of people
let's keep in mind we have a situation here where all air traffic in and out of belgium has now been closed and metro traffic in the city of brussels has also been brought to a standstill standstill. >> and when you look at the pictures from the airport it appears from them that a significant explosion has taken place. windows blown out. debris strewn around. you are struck by the photos by if force of the blast that might have caused that kind of an impact. and then we have the reports as kelly was mentioning at the metro stations. one report suggesting smoke from a station in molambiqe where
number of jihadists and salah abdeslam was found friday. those pictures there of that particular metro station. now if there were other metro stations hit too, then clearly we are talking about a number of attacks in a number of different places. they are not certain how many people who support isis were still on the run across europe, across brussels. perhaps this morning we're getting a picture of just how much were. >> let's recap for people who
the east coast and finding out about this. shortly after 8:00 a.m. brussels time, two explosions rocked the airport. one was said to happen at curbside just neartermal. that was perhaps a suicide bombing. then another explosion. area. that one with devastating impact as you can see. and then a short time later, at least one explosion, perhaps multiple explosions inside the metro system in brussels. one said to be mere the maalbeek area where as suspected on friday abdeslam was arrested. in the last couple of days police said they were looking for an accomplice. so a couple of different scenarios perhaps playing out here. one is that these bombings were
for the arrest of abdeslam. the other scenario is that perhaps there were accomplices already in the brussels area, perhaps plotting other attack bus clearly with devices in their possession to carry out those attacks and they may have felt they may have then been compromised. their identities and locations have been compromised by the arrest of abdeslam and they decided to carry out any attack, some attack just so they would not be arrested before they could cause carnage. and these are picture prs the brussels airport. people milling about. keep in mind there must have been thousands of people trying to get on flights and thousand os of others arriving at that airport. those people were taken off planes and sent to the tarmac until they could be safely evacuated from the airport. i want to go to pete williams right now.
kwlur hearing there is this. >> the question is what's going to happen at airports inside the united states. airport security at the perimeters, before you get into an airplane, is the responsibility not of tsa or homeland security but individual airports in the u.s. and so far we've been told they haven't yet given any guidance to airports in the united states on what they should do but if past experience is a guide, i think you can expect that larger airports in the u.s., new york, los angeles, perhaps miami will respond on their own by putting additional security, additional
the past where they even restrict car travel at the front of airports in response to specific threats or perceived threats and that is something that american authorities are going to have to work out here in the coming hours as we come up to the same time of day where this bomb occurred in belgium which is roughly 8:00 a.m. they are assessing the situation. they are certainly aware of the reports. the european authorities are a little busy right now as you can manage. there hasn't been a lo of the communication and that is typical in a situation like this. but the u.s. is gathering information and trying to decide what guidance to give to airports in the u.s. but i suspect that many of them, we've seen this in the past where there are attacks overseas and airports here decide on their own what to do. so the new york area airports and the department of homeland security, we are waiting to hear. they are aware and trying to
>> i'm joined by savannah guthrie here in the studio. this took place, at least the airport attacks here at the most vulnerable part of this airport. you can drive up in a car. come on mass transit. you can get on a bus with a suitcase or backpack and walk into that area without passing through security. later once you have gone through security process it is more difficult. but at that part of the airport where there are lots of people milling about waiting to check in for flights and luggage, that is a very vulnerable place. >> and they have been well aware of this. and you simply reach a point where you can't move the security out any further. but this has always been a concern for airport, subway, train stations. any place where people gather is how far out do you move the security perimeter? we have seen in the past where airports take it upon themselves.
we've seen this around the country in past years where there are threats to airports where they will begin to restrict car traffic. stop curside check in. these are all the decisions that have to be made. >> and there is no question there is an area of intense focus by counterterrorism officials. part of security of course which is what we just talked about what you might have the perimeter. part is always tracking individual whose might be suspicious. and in the case of brussels belgium and in this one neighborhood, there is so much activity. there is so many islamists who are there. >> reporter: they have been worried about something like this as they realized the extent of this network involved in the paris attacks and realizing they
nest of people with all sorts of different connections. but based on what they left behind in their apartments, all of the arms they had been accumulating, they worried that just something like this was planned. but there is no question that the european authorities have a special problem here. because so many people have been going from european countries into syria to fight with isis into isis controlled areas and coming back to europe. there is such a revolve ing door there. it's been extremely difficult to track. knock on wood it's been easier to track here in the u.s. not nearly the number and that is been the single most worry some pressure point in the picture because of this easy back and forth access. and almost impossible to track. and even though they may have a number of people that they are trying to watch, at some point it gets so extreme that you are
people you want to watch most carefully. it is not possible to watch all of them. >> and we talked over the last couple of months about isis switches and terrorists switching to soft targets. and while they are both soft targets that are extremely important because they shut down a city and a part of a country. when you attack airports and metro hub, you are freezing people in place. >> and these are terrorists and they want to spread fear in addition to causing injury and chaos. and they know that airports have a special kind of resonance. when you carry out these kind of attacks. people feel especially vulnerable there. and it is a place where people come from all over, and they get a lot of attention. you can understand the twisted nonetheless thinking that went into this.
salah abdeslam who was one of the fixers in the pairs attacks in november has been captured and he is being interrogated by authorities. and not only did they want to know what they could find out about the paris attacks. the key issues were there any other attacks in the offing. obviously it is too soon to know but certainly that has to raise eyebrows that you have his capture at along last and then these incidents just within a few days. >> well i think the question they will try to figure out is was this a plan already in place and they simply accelerated it because they feared more and more people were being rounded up and it was sort of now and never? or was this ad hoc done in retaliation? and they are going to have to figure that out. and there will be plenty of time to get the answer to those questions. but the authorities were poised or worried about just this sort
they just didn't know specifically where or when. but they seemed to be resigned to the fact there were going to be more attacks. >> pete just go back into your kind of memory for me for a second and base on an attack or attacks like these in a place like brussels, how long would it generally take for u.s. security officials and law enforcement officials to decide if they wanted to change the status of security or change some sort of alert status here in this country. >> a matter of hours i think once they -- the contours here are quite obvious, really. i don't think it is going to take a lot of time to decide and to get a picture of what happened. i think they have the basic outlines here. they simply have to decide what the best thing to do is. and i don't think from past experience you are going to see u.s. but you probably will see some restrictions at major airports on the perimeter access. how close you can get with a
we don't know how these bombs were delivered, whether it was simply people walking up with suicide vests or car bombs or suitcases or what. we just don't know that part yet. it is the most worrisome part about airport security. what happens in areas that anybody can go into? it's only so much you can do about it. you can keep moving security further and further away but wherever you move it that becomes the vulnerable point. so it is well understood. and again, just to be clear, the responsibility for security around the fringes of airports and inside airport buildings is the responsibility of the individual airports. so many of them will simply make these decisions on their own. we've seen that in past years. they don't wait for the federal guidance. they just do it.
they are still assessing, we are still waiting to hear what they are going to do takes a while. >> for people just joining us we are talk about multiple explosions in and around belg. two at the airport. and at least one perhaps multiple explosions in their subway system shortly after that. at this moment we have reports that one person has been confirmed dead. we have other reports saying there may be many more dead that that. and based on some of the footage we've seen in the airport the destruction is sizable. we know that there were many injuries. there are reports of the injured being taken on stretchers to waiting balances. in some cases taken on baggage carts out of the area. >> and we're also getting word the subway system has been shut down in the wake of a reported explosion at the train station
capital of the european union. we have keer simmons on the phone. unfortunately you have spent quite a bit of time in this area in recent days because of fears of this very thing. what can you tell us in terms of the response and what authorities are saying at this hour? >> reporter: well brussels is in lockdown. they have closed the metro system, the trams, the buses. the airport saying all airport operations today have been suspended. so we are seeing once again in brussels, and we saw this after the paris attacks when they realized that many of those who carried out those attacks came from the brussels area. the same kind of panic and fear sweeping across that city. remember, the capital of europe really, the place where european government happens, that is what is now happening across that
one of the explosions said to have happened near european union building, but as you mention ed mentioned they have been bracing themselves for something like this for some time. salah abdeslam, they found him because they raided a property on tuesday last week. and unexpectedly came across a terrorist cell who fired back on them. one was killed. salah abdeslam escaped. it was from there that they were able to track him down and finally arrest him on friday. before tuesday though, they had simple did not know where he was. and i'm afraid what's happening today is going to raise serious questions about how across all of the intelligence services across europe and in belgium have been.
struggled to trace many of those who have been coming back from syria, affiliated to isis with the intent of carrying out an attack like this. the question, as you were talking to pete williams about is whether this attack was always planned. salah abdeslam, we have been hearing was telling officials that he -- that they were playing another attack or was -- some of the planning for this under way but at the time was the timing changed when those presume carried this out salah abdeslam was talking. officials just yesterday put out an alert to find another isis jihadist. and was he somebody connected to this. was it the alert to try to find
pushed them to move in this way? in what we are seeing savannah this is not the kind of attack that you can carry out in a hurry or suddenly plan. it has to be planned in advance. there are in questions today. >> let's bring in richard engel. two points here. one is follow-up on what keir just talked about. the possibility that this change of events we have seen in brussels was pre planned, the other that it was accelerated because of the arrest of salah abdeslam. the other question and this is a question we talked about after paris and around the holiday time, is why belgium? why brussels? why has it become such a hot bed of terrorist activity. >> reporter: well there are reports now that the entire e.u., eu. officials are being
so that would be a shut down of the pan-european government. at least temporarily. right after the arrest of abdeslam, the last known fugitive of the paris attack, we talked on air about what is going to happen. and i remember brian williams asked does this mean there are going to be more attacks or less? and at the time i said well there are one or two ways this could play out. one is that after they know, his colleagues and associates and conspirators know that a key person has been grabbed, they can either go underground or they can decide that their cover is blown, they have nothing to lose and they can launch whatever attacks they have in the works. so to keir's point that perhaps this was something in the works that was accelerated, that is a real possibility and we have
there are key arrests. that happens in the united states when the fbi or homeland security. they will wait in order to arrest a key fugitive so that they can try and arrest all of the fugitives at the same time to prevent any kind of follow on or knock on attack. this seems to be quite -- quite a significant event. you have the multiple targets. you have the airport. you have the metro station in maalbeek is the area where many of the paris bombers were from. it was where the last fugitive, abdeslam, was captured just a few days ago. really just a few meters from his house. the arrest at his house has also not very far from where he and childhood friends.
where there are many immigrants particularly from morocco and other other. it is an area where they are said to have sympathy where the police have struggled to deal with people. and per capita, belgium has had this t highest number of its people per capita going abroad and joining isis and many have gone and returned to the area. >> perhaps the challenges and some of the shortcomings or efforts in belgium in the wake of the paris attacks. the fact that you just mentioned that abdeslam ultimately was found not far from his childhood home in the very neighborhood from whence he had come. and it took so long to get him.
difficulties but also just the insularity of this community and how difficult it is for authorities to really breakthrough and detect these plots in advance and let alone find a suspect they have been looking hard for for several months. >> salah abdeslam came from this neighborhood. he knew abaaoud. they met in that neighborhood. this cell that met in november killing 130 people was often called the brussels cell. there were from this neighborhood. salah abdeslam, he's a peculiar character. if you remember he didn't carry out his suicide mission. all of the other attackers that were directly involved in the bombing of the france at the
in a hail of bullets or by exploding their suicide vest. he left his suicide vest and decided that he -- this attack wasn't for him. so at that stage he made himself a non entity for isis. if you are an isis fighter you are expected to die in the battle. he went into hiding. he went back to where his childhood friends where, where there was a network of supporters for him. he went back to maa -- >> richard, let me interrupt for a second and then i'm going to have you standby because we're also getting more information right now. we just got word that the cell phone networks in belgium, in the brussels area are going down now. we don't know whether law enforcement has decided to take those cell phone networks down to prevent communication between other terrorists or whether those are just going down for some other reason. but now consider yourself a
and your airport travel, your travel in and out of country has been basically suspended by these bombings at the airport. your subway travel has been shut down because of bombings in the subway. and now you find that your cell phone is not of use, which obviously we all know on a daily basis we have come to incredibly depend on. and imagine the isolated feeling of the people of belgium this morning as they try to deal with what anz unfolding terror situation in their midst. >> this is the very goal of terror. in the crisis center in belgium just tweeted out don't call, use texting or social media. the network is getting saturated. so use facebook, whatsapp, twitter to avoid calls. sounds like based on that, this is something the authorities have tried to do and attempted to do perhaps to save the
emergency personnel who are needed right now to potentially stop some other kind of attack or coordinated attack in the offing but as you mentioned, can you imagine being a citizen of the capital of the eu today? >> those people have become used to living you should a high level of alert but this morning something extraordinary. you are watching nbc news coverage of the deadly explosion in brussels at the airport and also in the metro system. we are going to pause to give more stations a chance to join us. we'll return others to local programming. 5:0 30 now on the east coast. plus five, so 10:30 in brussels belgium. you are looking at the scene and aftermath of several explosions there this morning, just after 8:00 local time brussels, there were two explosions at the airport.
inside the departures terminal. another said to have coward in the curb area just outside. we have reports the number of dead may rise significantly. >> belgian media are reporting there may be a death toll in the double digits and of course we'll continue to watch that the pictures speak a thousand words about the impact of the blast and in the wreckage the recognizable aspects of an airport departure lounge, which so many of us have seen on a daily basis and of course it raises the question what might happened in here in light of what we've seen in brussels. i think tom costello is on the phone. and tom, we always turn to you when there are issues about aviation security. what are your thoughts this morning? >> good morning savannah.
brussels airport very well. my wife is belgian, she used to work in that airport. we have in-laws in brussels, a very short distance from that airport. and that is the main departure hull right there. when you pull up to the airport, you drop your people off right there or you might park in the garage right across the driveway, if you will. and you walk in. so this is where in the morning you would see hundreds and maybe even thousands of people lining up to check in for their morning flights. that picture right there, i've stood at that exact location many times checking the departure boards. people line up to their various airlines, check in. and what is particularly disturbing also about the timing of this, this would have been about the time that americans also are lining up to get on a flight bound for the united states because of course the security procedures for people
little longer over seas. these pictures right here is down in the concourses of the airport. so this is past security right here. what is particularly interesting about the brussels airport is that it almost bottle necks as you drive up to it. in other words, the roads that seem to feed into the airport are really not big enough. they are not wide enough. and as a result there is always a choke point it seems. always a bottle neck in those small roads leading up to the airport terminal itself. then you go into this big great departure hall which was redone about 20 years ago. a lot of glass as you saw from the earlier picture. security process and what you are seeing again are the concourses that feed down to the various planes. the fact that this happened in belgium, which is a country that as you know has been at the heart of this fight involving islamic terrorism for some time, the people who live if belgium.
would tell you they have been expecting something for some time. they have felt the nature of their country change in ways that many of them candidly are not very happy with. they believe that increasingly their government has allowed many people to come in who may have backgrounds that are suspect, who haven't been checked thoroughly. and then are given very generous social stipends to live off and are then are not watched. police are not properly watching individuals and as, you know, the laws in belgium are such that they have had an awful lot of problems not just with terror suspects but regular criminals as well and apprehending them and keeping them in custody. so there's been a lot of talks over the years and a lot has been written about the alleged disfunction within the belgian government and whether right now they are in some ways trying to come to grips this with that. you are looking at downtown
so this is separate from the brussels airport, probably ten miles away or so and this is the area on lockdown right now. >> you talked about the timing and there may have been americans looking to board flights back to this country. a lot of flights land at that airport overnight from other parts of the world but the timing again 8:00 a.m. local time when you go to the other side of the story which is the bomb of at least one, perhaps bombing of subway stations in brussels. >> reporter: it is across the entire capital of europe and their subway system feeds into the network that includes the rail system which connects all of europe. but you have a situation where you have many, many people who flood into brussels to work every day and then day take tear subway, they take the trains out of brussels during the day, rather at the end of the day after work. i would also tell you that we
of ours who live and work at the brussels airport. and we have not heard from yet. mywife has been on the phone with family members there in belgium as well. the explosion, the images, the explosion near the metro system at eu headquarters, those are the images right there. the brandweer that is the department. belgium is the flemish, french and also german, a trilingual country. and the flemish and the french city. it is a very peculiar city in that regard. people think of belgium as the french city. but the truth is there are more area than french. >> and we should mention our
ordered a shelter in place for all citizens in brussels. and let's not forget this is among other things the capital of europe. so it is a strategic target. also a symbolic target and as we've been talking this morning, brussels itself, particularly this neighborhood known as molembeek has been in recentise a hot bed of islamic radicalism and something that's been very difficult for the belgian authorities to get ahold of. you mentioned the laws. i read in the newspaper this morning that in the search for abdeslam that paris terror suspect just recently arrested, at one point they thought they had him but there is a law preventing nighttime raids so him. >> from an american perspective some of these laws seem absolutely silly, in which they
to stage police raids overnight. anybody familiar with law enforcement knows midnight to 5:00 is usually the optimal time to do a raid. and there have been a whole host of laws and bureaucratic moves over the last 25 years this i think almost any belgian would tell you, this is not controversial, has hampered the capability of the police and judicial system in belgium to do their jobs and they are now trying to come to terms with that. but they are dealing with that massive bureaucracy involving multiple languages and competing interests. the image there is right outside of brussels. my family, my in-laws live not far from there. i'm familiar with this area. you are seeing people fleeing the brussels airplane ort there. through that little village. so if they have no train service, no metro service, and no taxis. all of these people have no
walking away. walking down the highways and roads and trying to find some way to get back towards the middle of the town or the rail system that is going to be very difficult at this hour with so many, so much of the system polarized that the hour. >> and even though this is the capital of the european union it is difficult it seems even at this early thour get accurate information. much of the information we're receiving coming from belgium broadcasters. we mentioned there is at least one confirmed person dead but broadcasters are saying that o total could be anywhere between 10 and 35. so multiple fatalities. many have been injured at the attack at the airport. it is interesting. we're getting very little in the way of footage, cell phone fooblg or anything from the subway attacks.
going off in a metro station in brussels. belgium by the way has raised the threat tloefl it level to its highest state. we've received no alert to change in this country's status. but again, as we mentioned this all comes four days after the arrest of salah abdeslam who was said to be the ring leader, one of the planners of the paris terror attacks back on november 13th of last year. when he was arrested by belgian authorities. he is said to after interrogation said that there were others in the area, that other things have been planned. the big question is was this
or did accomplices of his simply decide that too much was at stake, too much at risk to their identities and locations after his arrest and they simply accelerated some kind of a plan. >> i want to go to pete williams standing by in our washington bureau and you are one of our first to usually get information to the extent it is coming to this government and federal officials here. are you able to add to the reports a all this morning. >> able to add this on what's happening here in the u.s. savannah. we are waiting to see what u.s. airports are going to do in response to this. there's been no recommends yet we are now told by the department of homeland security. they are trying to decide what to tell local airports to do. but what we often see is that many cities simply do things on their own. and a spokesman for the new york city police department says -- and this is not unexpected. this is the usual response nypd takes. that they are going step up security in new york as the precaution.
people in new york to see -- to expect to see further security, especially at the obvious places. at points of transit, subways and so forth. at bridges and tunnels. that means people coming into the new york area, to the extent there are checks on vehicles. you can expect to see more of they are going to be putting out a statement later today. but they have already decided they are going take up some more visible security in new york. this is the usual response that nypd takes whenever there is a terror attack anywhere in the world but especially in europe. and especially an attack on transportation facilities. so this is something that they have decided to do on their own not based on any information that they have intelligence information. but based on simply what is publicly known. >> pete we know that officials in belgium after the arrest of abdeslam were worried that something would happen. was there much talk here in the united states about that fear?
the fear in europe. but not about a fear in the united states. because the european situation is just so different and because the -- the assumption here is that these are -- we don't know this for a fact. but the assumption has been, the concern has been that it was the periphery or people connected with the paris attacks who either fled paris before the attacks, were involved and left before or right after. it is the sort of cell that was responsible for the paris attacks. because a lot of the planning for the paris attacks happened in belgium. >> pete, let me pause you right there. i do want to go to keir simmons who's following this from overseas. whether can can you say for us? >> reporter: a senior european counterterrorism official confirmed through nbc news that islamic state, isis, is
attack or multiple attacks. as you have been seeing through the morning we have seen substantial damage at brussels airport. the kind of damage that is difficult to believe that one explosion would cause. if it was, it would have to be a sizable bomb. and damage too at the metro station. so that appears as if we are talking about a multiple attacks. something coordinated. and of course savannah as you have been talking with pete about. this comes after european authorities were warning that they feared that another attack was planned. so sa la abdeslam, who was arrested on friday in connection with the paris attacks telling authorities, according to the french prosecutor that he was planning further attacks. alerts have been i should for others, other accomplices that
many questions now over who is behind this and whether -- compelled to move because they knew one of their number had been arrested and feared he was talking or whether this was something planned for some time. >> we've mentioned a couple of times this morning the term "suicide attack" and i think for a lot of people that brings up images of someone walking in wearing some sort of device on their body, a belt or a vest. but if we look at some of the footage -- and you said this a if we look at some of the footage inside the terminal and at the scope of the damage, you know, i hate to say it. but we've seen these types of scope of that damage in there looks like
by a belt or suitcase because extreme damage. >> quite simply it depends how much explosives you use how much damage is cause. these are early hours and it is difficult to jump to conclusions. but certainly those pictures, and the viewers can see them for themselves really do appear to describe visually an explosion that has done a lot of damage. blown those windows out. caused smoke to rise from the building like that. so very quickly officials will be trying to figure out how much explosives will have caused this. we know from what we've been told by european officials that they still didn't know who the bomb maker was in connection
that they had found explosive residue in a number of apartments used by the terrorist cell that carried out paris. but they were still to some extent struggling to understand how these bombs were put together. >> right but keir, based on recent information they were also somewhat alarmed at the sophistication of the devices used, for example in the paris attack. and again it was believed much of the planning for that attack came from brussels in belgium. let me ask you to hold on a second keir. savannah and i are here on a desk. we understand that tom costello is gesturing he's got new information and would like to get in on this discussion. tom go. >> only so far as can we go back to those main stills in the main terminal. as i mention i am intimately familiar with this airport.
you would stand, you would walk right down those openings and those are the check-in kiosks. and three main hallways based out of that. so they struck right where people were standing. this is exactly where you would have hundreds and i've got to say as i've stood there, many, many times to catch a flight either back to the states or across the eu there are at times thousands of people queueing all through the main terminal. departures. >> as all mixes. so you would be standing next to somebody getting on a flight for the u.s., on a u.s. carrier. maybe on the other side somebody who's headed to africa or someone headed to italy. it is all mixed there at the main brussels airport. and then they divide you off based on your destination you will go to different concourses but the main terminal where that picture is from is where everybody would be standing and
can tell you having been there so many times i'd be surprised if they can recover very quickly, at least in the next 24-48 hours. that looks absolutely devastating. >> tom costello in washington. thank you very much. >> and i wonder, i think one of the things we'll be asking ourselves and certainly security officials will be asking is what they can do in light of these attacks. you talk about the departures lounge how many times in airports across this country do you just walk up with your suitcase and drop it off. and certainly no visible security. we don't know what might be done behind closed doors in terms of surveillance or tracking. but i think there will be a lot of soul searching after this. you find situations that security officials tending to fighting the last war, as the rp. >> from our graphic at least 13
series of attacks in belgium this morning. just after 8:00 in the morning, the height of the rush hour in the subways and of course at the airport there in brussels. two bombs going off there. at least two. two that we know. one at the curbside check in. the other at the departures terminal. and as you said report of at least one perhaps more explosions inside the metro station. this happens in a country already living at high state of alert following the terror attacks in paris and the tracing of the roots of those attacks to certain neighborhoods in the brussels area. the people of belgium are no stranger to having to deal with situations like this. but now they are living under the highest possible state of alert that their country can put forward. level four, meaning they fear an imminent attack. and i would imagine they fear there are more accomplices out there intent on causing harm in the next few hours or the next
>> and paris attacks really exposed to the world what was going on in brussels, in particular this neighborhood that there was this vast terror cell. that it was a place where people with these intentions could live in relative ease and coordinate. and obviously evade authorities. right now the prime minister of belgium has said what's become very apparent here. this is indeed a terror attack. imagine brussels right now, the train station is shut down. the cell service we've heard has been suspended by the authorities to protect the service to preserve it for the authorities. >> but people are allowed to text and use other forms of social media but you are not supposed to use your cell phones to make calls. >> and also seeing reports
transportation that otherwise might be entering brussels obviously told to stop right now. because you see a city at an absolute standstill. i'm reminds in the weeks of the paris attacks as focus really came to brussels, there was a period of time when brussels was completely shut down and authorities said to people just basically don't leave your home because they were so fearful that an attack like this was imminent imminent. obviously that was lifted at some point and now we see those fears coming to reality. >> and just a reminder that although we talk about this shut down of transportation. this is europe. soft borders. not like the united states where you travel between a border between here for example and canada or even with the southern board with mexico. there you get in your car and basically all you see is a street sign change and you are in a another country. after the paris attacks we did see roadside stops where they
i would imagine they are out on the roadways leading out of belgium this morning into other european countries trying to see if they can find other suspects trying to get away or carry out other attacks. >> you have to believe there is a dragnet right now around the area. of course it is also a sore spot since after the paris attacks salah abdeslam was able to slip out. he is a name that continually comes up this morning because of his connection to the paris attack, because he came from brussels brusselsel and there will be a lot of questions as to whether these attacks are any way related to the arrest of abdeslam. >> and you have to wonder what he has told authorities so far. what he failed to tell them.
will be turned up on him substantially after these attacks. >> no question about that. there have been conflicting reports frankly about the extent of his cooperation. some early are reports are that he was being cooperative. which was i think surprising to a lot of counterterrorism people. and then over the weekend his lawyer said he wasn't cooperating. so we haven't gotten a good lay down about how much information he has given but no question he's potentially a very important person but, you know, whether they will be able to turn him and get information, i don't know. i will say this though. it is often surprising how much information does come from people who are involved in terrorism. some never give much but often times once they are arrested they do begin to spill their guts as it were on what they know and who else may be involved. that is the critical question.
what else is planned. who else is involved. where else should they be concentrating their efforts. >> and remember, according to reports and richard engel was just talking about this, salah abdeslam was somebody who according to authorities was supposed to be among the suicide bombers. that he reportedly told interrogators that he lost his nerve outside of the soccer stadium and that asked for friends to come pick him up and get him out of paris. but that also raises the question of where he stood in the terrorist network after that. if you fail to complete your mission. i've read he wasn't featured in some of the propaganda that came out after the terror attacks. so perhaps he has a different point of view and maybe trying to save his skin, pete as he potentially talks to interrogators there. >> i've seen those as well and i think we have to take all of
morning because there are conflicting reports on exactly how much he's saying. there may be some optimism about the extent to which he was cooperating. >> the extent of whether these attacks were put together hastily or whether they had been planned in advance, there was coordination because these bombs went off in short order. just after 8:00 the airport bombings and shortly after the subway bombing or bombings. so i'm not sure the level of communication that requires other than just several people with cell phones saying we're going to do it now. one of the things that came out of the report following the paris attacks that was printed this past weekend was extensive use of disposable cell phones by the terrorists there. and i thought it was very eye opening that they had that much coordination and that much planning and decision making ahead of time to go through that
didn't they also in one of the apartments find boxes of unopened and unused cell phones? >> well that's sadly become sort of standard trade craft, if you will, for terrorists to use these burner cell phones that are very difficult to track. earlier on there were perhaps some discussion that they had used phones that were encrypted and this has been part of the discussion in the u.s. about the so called going dark problem. but then the discovery was that in fact they were simply using these burner cell phones. it moons you go and buy the phone. you can buy the sim card separately. use them a short period of time and then throw them away and use a different phone in order to try to foil attempt to surveil or monitor people or use the phones in way way to gather information. and that's unfortunately become sort of the standard. widely used for years by drug dealers and people in organized crime.
very long to figure out that that was something they could emulate. and that is one of the things that makes it harder to track them. and these burner cell phones are just so widely available. >> coming up on 11:00 in the morning in belgium. you are looking at scenes in the streets of brussels. and we've been running footage of the aftermath at the airport there where these explosions took place just after 8:00. a packed departure area by most accounts. people lining up at kiosks to check into flights whether to other parts of europe or the united states or elsewhere but clearly someone or some people pulled up to that departure area, detonated one explosive device on the curb outside of that building and then another with devastating effect inside that departure terminal. reports right now that at least 13 people have been killed.
those people taken to local hospitals after being ferried out of the terminal building on stretchers and even luggage carts. >> the target clearly strategic. airport departure hall. a subway station, perhaps more than one. so not only the place bis the timing. 8:00 in the morning brussels time when this happened. a time when those airport departure lounges are full of travelers both domestic and international travelers. as we see these images, particularly from the airport it looks so familiar. you see the kiosk, a place everyone can imagine checking in and what the crowds are like as people are rushing towards their flights and then of course the subway station. the reports that this occurred, in a subway station very near to the heart of the european capital, the government buildings there. so this morning we are starting to take the toll as the reports
in brussels, the heart of europe and a city on lockdown right now. >> the people of europe waking up to images of terror. people all around the world waking up to the same as you watch the injured being carried away from the airport in brussels this morning. >> we'll take a moment and let >> local, live, late-breaking, this is wesh 2 news sunrise, in high definition. brett: breaking news unfolding right now, brussels has been rocked by several explosions. michelle: at least 13 people are dead, and many others are this is being called a terrorist attack. for the very latest information, we get right to jazmin walker at what do you know? jazmin: moments ago, the u.s. embassy in belgium raised the threat alert level four. security officials believe isis is behind these attacks. at least 13 are dead, and 35 injured according to belgian