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tv   News4 Today at 6  NBC  March 22, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EDT

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you watch the injured being carried away from the airport in brussels. >> we'll let our stations pause and rejoin us at the top of the hour to cover breaking news. you're watching news 4 today. we'll do a quick weather and traffic check here. no, let's go back to the special report. >> breaking news, terror attacks at the airport and the subway system there. 8:00 local time in brussels, there were two explosions at the airport there. one took place just in the curbside check-in area, the other inside the departure terminal. the second of theas
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to be devastating, a large explosive device that did enor miss damage. you're looking at some of the images right now. 13 people confirmed dead. lots of others have been injured at a very busy time at that airport. 8:00 in the morning. people rushing to catch planes. other flights arriving in other parts of that airport. people were taken, passengers, to a tarmac area where they were held for a while before being allowed to slowly walk away from that airport. there had to be an enormous effort made to be sure that the people walking away from the airport were in fact passengers and not members of the terror group that carried this out. and then just a short time later, attack or attacks in the metro system. >> striking fear in the heart of europe this morning. let's get ride to keir simmons following this. what are you hearing? i know we just heard what we feared, yes, this is a terror attack. >> reporter: that'ri
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rail stations, the airport, tramses buses all shutting down for fear of a further attack. just after 8:00 a.m. local time, we first heard reports that there had been an explosion at the airport and then we began to get the pictures of windows blown out and debris strewn around. it was becoming clear very quickly that many people would be injured if not killed. and we now believe that 13 have been killed at the airport. reports then began to emerge that there were perhaps two explosions at the airport and quickly followed by reports of another explosion at a metro station not far from the european union building. brussels is a police where european government business is conducted. that metro station was in molenbeek, the police wh
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back in november last year. so concerns very quickly raised that this was another attack in the heart of europe and a substantial one, one that appeared to have been coordinated. >> and let's put this in perspective and talk about the timing of all this. these bombings take place just four days after the arrest of salah abdeslam who was to be or said to be the alleged ringleader and planner of those paris attacks from november 13 of last year. he was arrested last friday. he allegedly told investigators that there were others this in that area and that perhaps something else was being planned. and now four days later, we have these attack. and as we've talked about with pete williams, we've talked about throughout the coverage we
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had been previously planned. and perhaps were what abdeslam was referring to or after his arrest if his associates became so alarmed that they might be compromised, that they simply decided with whatever they had at their disposal to go out and create carnage. >> that's right. and authorities are saying the attack was a suicide attack. that means that it was a person who had the explosives who detonated the explosives there on the scene, that it was not a remote control device, that it was not something set off remotely. but precisely what the delivery mechanism is, we don't know. whether a suicide vest as you've been noting just looking at the damage, it seems that it would be more explosive than that, was it contained in
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in a suitcase or box. they're trying to figure that out now. that will take this time to reassemb reassemble. >> and pete, in terms of your sources in this country, what are they telling you about their fears for something similar here and any precautions they may be ready or willing to take here? >> well, the fears of these sorts of attacks in the u.s. have been at a higher level ever since the attacks oversea, but at the same time, they recognize that the threat picture is very different because of where we are and where they are. the foreign fighter problem, the number of people from especially western
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pouring in to syria to join isis and then coming back or having connections to people who have done so is just an ordinary of magnitude far worse in europe than it is here. the number of people here in the u.s. who have been to syria is less than 200 and it's many times than in europe. so that is what has been concerning officials in europe so much more than in the u.s. nonetheless, the concern has been elevated here. you've seen stepped up security measures at airports especially. the question we're waiting to get an answer to this morning is what are airports in the united states or what is transit in the united states going to do as a precaution based on the attacks in europe. in you've articulated this so well. this is an area of an airport that is very, very difficult to secure.
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this is pre-security, before people are september through nt security. this is when you pull up to the airport. >> and this has always been the concern about airport security. and what we've seen in past year, where there have been attacks or threats against airports, some airports do these things on their own just to stress here that the security of airport facilities, buildings, access and so forth, is not a federal responsible, this is up to the individual airports. the feds take over on the planes past the security check points. so what airports themselves to is their own call. and i expect based on past experience that many of them will reasset, some may tree strict access by cars. we don't know yet.the department of homeland security is assessing what has happened.
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obviously the thing to do, what can we tell people going to u.s. airports today that they can expect to see differently based on what has happened. and my stumgs is they wonassump see a lot different, but there may be further skrcrutiny of vehicles as they approach airports. nypd says this is something they routinely do, they will step up security at airports, primgss tunnel, transit points subway stations and so forth. >> unfortunately in the world we live in, it's not unpredictable that this would be an area attractive to a terrorist, that this was a soft target, that it was relatively low hanging fruit for a terrorist who wanted to inflict maximum harm. are there security measures that perhaps not visible to us for these kinds of areas or is this an area that is departure, th
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world really as vulnerable as it seems? >> as we have seen attacks on airports around the world, this is the typical thing. position about t think about the shooting at the airport in rome that produced has casualties a couple decades ago. terrorists go where the people are and airports is an obvious thing. the subway bombing this morning in brusselses although as we understand it, it didn't cause nearly the casualties that this one did. this was just so much bigger. but this has always been the worry about airports and train stations and you name it. places where people congregate and wait to do something. >> pete, i'm going to break in next to you because those images we showed you, that was euro control. that was the air traffic rollw l
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so if police are now moving around the euro control headquarters outside of brussels, that speaks to their level of heightened concern for, you know, bigger and bigger targets. >> pete, i want to bring you back in and go over something that you and i and savannah talked about a little earlier and that is the interrogation of abdeslsalah abdeslam since his e on friday. there had been conflicting reports and you talked about this, that he was cooperating with authorities and then reports over the weekend that he was not. is there some thought now that when those reports came out that he was not cooperating with authorities, that perhaps those reports were leaked so that any potential associates he had identified already might not feel that they had been jeopardized? >> that's possible. but i suspect that anybody connected with him who was worried abo h
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out would be worried no appear what the authorities said. the confusion was or the conflicting reports were simply these, that there were unnamed sources that said that after he was arrested, he did initially cooperate, but then his lawyer came out and said, no, no, that's not the case. we just don't toe which is the right answer. >> i want to go to something else. on the phone we have steve clemens. i understand you were actually at brussels airport this morning? >> i didn't, i had just arrived and just come up from the train station into the big hall and i didn't hear the blast, it had happened just before i had come up. but i did see
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rush of people back out and how authorities took control very quickly, began forcing us to evacuate from back where we came. >> steve, how are you doing and second of all, what were people saying? did you overhear anything from people who had witnessed it, who had seen the devastation? >> first of all, thank you. i'm fine. definitely much better than some of the people that were injured and tragically killed. of course i bonded with a lot of the people that i was with and we were back going from the airport back to brussels north station which is the station that i had ring natured in. and had gone back. i tried to use my phone and interview a couple of the people and tweeted out what they saw because they were much closer when the bombing
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had stopped to kind of discuss it with one of the traveling people and had he not done that, would he have been right in line with where the bomb went off. so, yeah, there was a lot of attention and i was here on friday when salah abdeslam actions were going on. the level of tension that is now just pualpable everywhere is muh higher. that has gone to something that many belligians to something th is shaking the whole city. when we left the airport and authorities came in and they pushed us out very rapidly, and to the credit of the people heerk i think everyone had a good and immediate accepts that they knew that a very bad thing had just happened in the great hall, there was clearly a bombing. clearly smoke and certain things and people followed what the authorities said right away. and the evacuation happened rap pitly. it was
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back to russells north station, many people trying to figure out what to. and like myself, i think i'm on the last train that got out of that station before it was shut down and i'm on my way to amsterdam. but we began to hear almost immediately from people rumors about the bombings in the subways. and at that time then everyone began to worry, saw the large crowds speedily begin to leave the station because of the fear that people said it's not good to be in these public places in large groups of people. so that all happened within minutes. >> again we want to say thank you for your input on this and we'll try to keep with you throughout the morning. but most pornly, we're happy you're okay and we thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> 6:15 east coast, 11:15 a.m. in brussels. and there have been multiple explosionsck
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morning. most significantly at the airport there and the departure lounge around the 8:00 local time this morning. at least one explosion. when you look at the damage , i seems to be quite steps difference. associated press reporting at least 13 dead. we fear that may go higher. and then in close proximity to that in terms of timing, there was an explosion at a subway station there. this subway station also posted some of the government buildings there in brussels, belgium which unfortunately in recent morts have become a focus of an intense manhunt for one of the surviving paris attackers. and also in recent years this light of what has been going on in syria, this district in brussels just a hot bed of islamic radicalism and an area well-known to authorities. this city has been under a great
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pass. >> they have been under a high state of alert and now the highest state of alert, meaning there is tear of another or imminent attack. whether that's in the next several hours or day. no r0reports of any status chan here in this country. pete williams joining us on the phone from washington. pete, what else can you tell us? >> well, u.s. government now trying to decide what to tell airports in the west to do. and it may be getting some additional perspective on this from europe from the new transportation security administrator himself, peter neffenger who is in europe. we've been told that he is in brussels on scheduled meetings. so that may
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that up doubtedly will be an additional source of information on what is going on and somebody who is very involved this trying to tell american airports what they should be doing in response. just to emphasize something that may not be obvious, decisions about what to to on the perimeter of airports, inside airport buildings, all that is in the hands of the local authorities who run airports. so for example in the new york area, the port authority of new york and in jersey. here in d.c., the washington metropolitan airport authority. >> pete, sorry to interrupt. i know we have some images that are just coming into our newsroom now and these are images from the subway station as it appears you see commuters there being evacuated under rather dark and smoky conditions as we know there have been at least one attack at a subway station there as is so often the case.
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what we know. but at this point one attack at a subway station and we're just getting these pictures in. passengers being evacuated. this is a separate scene than that of the airport where we know 13 people have been killed. >> and it's interesting to note that the images we're seeing, you can see the lights of the actual subway or train in the back gloupd aground are still wo it looks like the explosion was in tunnel while it arrived or after it had left. so those passengers trying to of that gate theof that gate throu tunnels of the metro to get to safety. but again no reports of how many injured or killed in those explosions or that explosion. i believe -- actually what we could be getting from belgian authorities, this number between 13 and 35 could be in awful these locations. but clearly when you look at the
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of the airport, it looks like there must have been many casualties in that area. it's hard to know what we're seeing. whether this is downtown brussels or the airport. that looks leagike downtown plu sells to me. >> and tom costello who covers aviation happen to be familiar with this region he. his family and enin-laws are from belgian. >> and that picture i think it is a hotel near the downtown eu building where i took graduate classes actually. and i'm familiar with the airport because my wife used to work at the airport there. listen, 23 million people come through the brussels airport every year. it is not the busiest in europe, but because it serves as the capital of europe are and what we mean by that, for those of us who are maybe not as familiar, the departure hall on this map is right in thelo
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so that is where the explosion would have taken place, in that long rectangle there. once you proceed past check-in, you would go through security. either toward gates b or all the way to gates a on the other side. and that is a long walk. i've done it many times. so you can see everybody arrives at the departure hall. the question was was a particular airline or nationality targeted. i'm not sure that we can tell, but i also don't know that it matters much. because people are so packed and condensed in that particular portion of the airport there, you have airline after airline after airline all lined up next to each other there and you would be standing if you're in line at american airlines for example, you'd be standing next to somebody in line at brussels airlines. and somebody at british airlines. so that is the main
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hall right there. >> and all the people carrying suitcases, carrying backpacks with packages and boxes and you have no idea what the person next to you has in that package. >> and you were asking pete earlier is there any kind of security when you approach the irpt a airport and walk into the main terminal hall. you normally see national police standing there and they will very often have automatic weapons. but that is a normal part of almost any airport in europe. you see them moving through the airport. and i have very often seen police dogs that will randomly sniff people's bags as they're waiting to begin checking in. but you don't see any sort of a making any tomorrow ter, anything like that as you're entering in to the terminal. not at all. and because
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structure is right up against the airport, it's easy to pull your bag out and be in the terminal in two to three minutes. that is the fire station right there. and there i will tell you that looks to me like the main avenue that goes down through brussels next to the european commission and european parliament. and the last point i was going to make when we were explaining what is the eu, it's really the bureaucratic hub of europe. this is where they all try tody together how are they going to make joint decisions. but that is not to say that london and paris are not and you t autonomous, but they try to coordinate eu. >> and we see police trying to herd people to safety. i know you mentioned you have extended family there as do i. my sister-in-law and brother in law live just outside brussels.
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through that airport on saturday of this week. we've been texting back and forth with them and i understand that in terms of downtown brussels now, there are police at every single cross road. they have taken up positions at all the crossroads and intersections. so clearly trying to -- or preparing for something else or trying to get their eyes on someone or anyone else who may be thinking of carrying out further attacks and perhaps stop someone before they can escape that area. >> and metro stations are closed, airport is closed, cell service has been suspended. so tom, just a lot fear and tension on streets. >> and i have to tell you, the belgians have been very fearful for a long time. yes,ris attacks absolutely. but they have also talked about the chng
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it's been a politically divisive issue with right wing parties trying to capitalize on that and become a country that no longer accepts immigrants. but that has not been the case. belgium has been very welcoming of immigrant and when you do arrive paep usual arrive, you're given a generous social stipend to live off of. if we would go back to the images of the people in the subway, while there are report of explosions in the in the troh system near molenbeek and also i believe that is the image right there, there is a metro station at the brussels airport, so it's entirely possible that we hey be looking at a combination of these images from across the brussels metro system, but there is an underground metro subway system at the brussels airport. >> and steve clemens who is our
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msnbc contribute tore wor told he had just come up from the underground metro and witnessed after math and he's now headed out of the area. let's go to keir simmons. and i should mention that the bell dwgian prosecutor says it appear to be a suicide attack. >> reporter: that's right. and a sense of fear sweeping across brussels. the u.s. embassy tells u.s. citizens to avoid public transport. belgian prime minister is urging people to stay within their area. the leader of france hollande is holding an emergency defense council to establish how they will react in france. i think all of this gives you a picture of authorities scrambling to establish whether this is it or whether there are others out there, whether more attacks are planned. we've been saying th
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reporting over the past few days back to bring when salah abdeslam was arrested are there more jihadists out there, do they have a plan for another attack. as you have been mentioning, there were reports of salah abdeslam himself was telling authorities that further attacks were planned. the question for officials now will be are there others who are still -- still have explosives, still have weapons, still intends to attack other places perhaps in belgium, perhaps in other parts of europe. that will be the fear. and pat of that will be because until a week ago, authorities didn't know whether abdeslam was p they captured him because any carried out a routine raid on a building, that led them
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firefight which gave some evidence that led them to salah abdeslam. so we have had a picture since the paris attacks in november of the intelligence agencies in europe and we have to say they have a very, very difficult task to tackle, all of the extremists that have been returning from syria, isis affiliated extremists have been coming back into europe, they have a difficult task, but it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the intelligence agencies in europe have been really struggling and once again another attack. >> and we want to go back to tom costello. we are now seeing in a tweet from united airlines that their employees at the brussels airport are all safe, so good news for the folks who would, for united f. >> delta air linesig
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remotely. they're not letting the passengers off that plane. they're still sitting on the plane. local teams on ground are trying to figure out how to deplane them and where to put them. you saw the images of thousands of people who look like on the ramp of the brussels airport because they had evacuated the terminal. so imagine now you've been on a long flight all the way from atlanta into brussels. you land and you can't get off the plane because you're in the middle of an emergency and they are trying to determine where they will put those folks. one other flight, delta flight 42 has been diverted to amsterdam. 80 from atlanta is on the ramp there in brussels. >> and anybody who has flown from the united states to europe knows that most of those flights are i guess the majority of those flights are overnight flights that land in the european capital. anywhere from 6:00 to 6:30 in the morning up until 10:00 in
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would have been an incredibly busy time with the incoming flights and the outgoing flights. >> that's right. new york jfk is the busiest intercontinental destination for flights leaving brussels, followed by tel aviv and washington, d.c. because those flights come in in the morning as you mentioned, we've all gotten off that flight, we're red eyed, bleary eyed, and struggling to stay awake. they then turn those planes away and in just a number of hour and they head right back across the ocean. so that is the morning push is when this would have happened. and you can see how busy and packed the concourse there, very busy airport. and one last note, you will see an awful lot of folks headed to israel there in the brussels airport. it is a main portal from europe and amsterdam -- rather antwerp a center for a lot of jewish activity. so the brussels airport is a main gateway
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>> tom, stand by. we'll tcontinue our coverage in just a moment. in brussel, at least 13 people have been killed, mull tunnel explosions. one at the airport, one at a subway station. good morning. it is 6:30 on the east coast. it is 11:30 in brussels and that's where we're covering breaking news this morning. several explosions rocking that city. two at the airport. at least one in the in the metro system in downtown brussels. we know that at least 13 people have been killed. countless others have been injured. we've seen footage like this of people trying to get out of not only the airport, but the subway stations. images like that right there of extensive damage at the departures hall or the departures terminal at brussels airports. what we know is that one
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curbside check-in area, we've been told that was a suicide explosion. another inside the departures terminal where hundreds if not thousands would have been standing, cuing up, trying to use the kiosk and check into their delights. and months later, more explosions in the subway system. >> and the prime minister charles michel said these are terrorist attacks. and one of these attacks was the work of a suicide attacker. we don't know if this is somebody who would have a vest strapped to him or her or whether it was carrying a suitcase which turned out to be a bomb. but the damage is quite extensive. so right now you have a picture of a european capital that is all but shut down. train service shut
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service suspended, metro stations closed. and you have a city very much on emand an investigation as to who is behind this and whether there could be more attacks in the offing. >> belgian people have been living a the high level of terror alert over the last several months. belgian officials have now changed that to the highest terror alert meaning there are other or imminent attacks thought to be possible. where they're in the next couple of hours or days. i want to bring pete williams our keechief justice correspond in. these boppings take place four days after the arrest of salah abdeslam who was said to be the ripping leader of the paris planner attacks back in november 13. he was arrested in an area that is known to be a hot bed of islamist or radical islamic
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and i want to remember an image i remember seeing over the weekend when salah abdeslam came out on to the street scrambling to get away, the belgian police shot him in the leg intentionally so that he could be taken alive because clearly they wanted information from him to prevent the kind of images that we're seeing this morning. >> the timing is highly suggestive, but what we don't know and you're looking at the pictures of his arrest there and the still picture of him, what we don't know is was this attack in retaliation for his arrest, was this the result of a plan that had been in place that just happened to be planned to this time. or was this a plan that had been talked about that was accelerated because the net was closing around other people connected with him and they wanted to try to get this done before they themselves either had to flee or they themselves were arrested. and it will be a long time before we know the
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those questions. but this foreign fighter problem, this high number of people in europe that are connected to isis that are connected to these sorts of terrorists, it's just hard to get your head around. i was just double checking what the head of the office of the director of national intelligence had told congress, current estimate is the number of people from western countries who traveled to syria since 2012 is 6600. that is an enormous number of people to try to keep tabs on. and that just gives you an indication of the magnitude of the security challenge for europeans. but they did discover this network of people in belgium from which they were directed. and that has been the toe cuss of the efforts. it's been ever since the paris attacks and the dfrry that some
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to belgium, brussels has been on tip continual high alert. the city was virtually shut down over christmas and new year's as they discovered there was this cell which they have since been trying to shut down. >> and questions remain as to what salah abdeslam has told investigators, whether he has told them and cooperated and given them valuable information, whether he has failed it cooperated or whether he has given them misleading information intentionally. >> that's always a challenge. but i think that the authorities there have a pretty good handle on if he does give them false information whether he's telling the truth or not. we just don't know the extent of his corporation. there have been conflicting reports. >> pete, stand by. we'll go to
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traveling with president obama. he is in havana, cuba this morning on a previously scheduled trip. one has to imagine that he was awakened this morning by his national security team to apprise him of what has been going on this morning will this in brussels. >> absolutely. susan rice here with him. the frpresident is staying at t residence of the ambassador here, his staff is at a nearby hotel. they're scrambling, coming up with a statement we believe. but his schedule was to give a major foreign policy speech on his policies toward cuba. and he was going to heavily talk about their criticisms of cuban human rights. and now this is all of course up in the air because they have been crafting that speech as the main focus of this trip. he was going to be meeting with di
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d disowe departments and then a baseball game. i can't imagine that he would not give a speech. there was of course a lot of criticism and some admission after the presidentris attacks they did not respond more quickly in terms of reassurance to the country as you'll recall. and so i think having learned that lesson, i think you will hear from the white house rather quickly. an think also they have to reconsider the rest of the schedule including what he had been looking forward to, that baseball game between the tampa bay and of course the cuban national team. part of the foreign policy, easing restrictions on cuban players coming to the states. so all of this now completely overshadowed by this terror incident that of course
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much like paris. and after paris of course the experience in san bernardino and the political fallout on the election address the white house itself. >> and we're looking at footage right now that is from several minutes ago. tease are people streaming away from the airport in brussels. and i would imagine that if we could get a live image up of the streets of brussels right now, you would see a very different picture. there we go. many fewer people out on the streets. streets have been shut down, people told to stay in place. they can't get around by subway because the subway system has been shut down. many of them are probably in cars trying to get out of the city. but others are simply sheltering in place. we have reports that there are police officers at all of the major crossroads and intersections obviously for a sense of security, but also possibly to try to get eyes on anybody who might be
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and trying to escape or at least to be in an area if another attack should be carried out. but right now i think it's safe to say that the city of brussels and basically the country of belgium is in a state of shock this morning. although they had lived at a high level of alert for not only several months, but several years. fear of an attack like this. it has now come to pass. >> and imagine the plight of travelers who have literally no where to go. let's go to tom costello who is well familiar with this airport. tom, what do you have to add. >> an airport worker says the blast went off if we can go back to the still photographs of that terminal, that the blast went off next to the starbucks keiok. it would be to your right. that's where the starbucks is. i've stood there and ordered a stck
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airport worker says that appears that that is where the blast went off. and an alert just issued by the belgian prosecutor's office, headline reads terror, warning people to stay inside. the euro star as we've been reporting has been suspended. euro star, super fast train service between london, brussels and paris, it's been suspended into brussels. the dutch prime minister now advising people against trav traveling to belgium and france, reinforcing security as well. it is a terror attack this is really i think fair to say a continuation of the ongoing terror attacks that we've seen since the pair recent attacks. the disruption of the terror that has really gripped belgium over the last four months. and i can tell you, i know, matt, you have family
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netanyahu are laherlands and i n belgium and they have been living with this fear afraid at times to go to area where is there might be a lot of people gathering. concerned about going to concerts, concerned about where the kids are at any given moment and where whether they will be train ride or bus ride. so this has been a polarizing series of events for the last four months and now the entire country of about 11 million people on lockdown. >> not only relatives in amsterdam and holland, but in belgium, as well. high sist my sister this in law and brother-in-law planning to travel here saturday. and yes, they have talked about the yefr overwhelming fear and feeling helpless to to thinking about it. >> and i have friends and family
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all saying that they are fine. just now as i'm speaking to you, friends of mine, five, are taking advantage of the facebook feature where you can check in and say that you're safe including thankfully my sister-in-law. she's safe. but this is now how people are communicating with the cellphone syst system. it's been saturated and difficult to make phone calls. they're asking people not to make phone calls, so people are turning to social media to check in and say they're safe. >> and as you mentioned, facebook has activated its safety check. media. facebook has activated it's safety check which enables people to say i'm safe. i'm okay. so if you are concerned about somebody in that region check social media. as we turn to sean henry who is our nbc terrorism analyst and former leader in the fbi, i wonder what your thoughts are this morning, sean as you look at the scope of the
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lounge. your eye is more expert. when you see the carnage there and windows blown out, do you come to any conclusions about the force that might be necessary or involved here? >> yeah. clearly it looks as if this was a powerful explosive device. i have been to that airport before and it's a typical airport like you would see anywhere throughout the united states. you don't have security until you get to the gate area where you're about to go through the gate but then you have all the folks congregated in that area. you have people getting food and coffee and what have you so there's a large mass of folks in that airport without security until you get to the gate area prior to the departure. >> can you lend a little insight into whether you think that something like this, proexplosions at an airport followed closely by one, perhaps more explosions in
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system in brussels could have been pulled together quickly. does this appear to be a plan for awhile or a plan put in place following the arrest of salah abdeslam. it looks like something that was put in place however the arrest of abdeslam on friday could have been a triggering point. they are starting to reign in on us. abdeslam might talk. we need to execute immediately but it was a type of event that was preplanned. >> however devices like these with the how power we have seen, is that something that can be assembled quickly or was that something they had on hand waiting to
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>> it may have been in preparation already. his arrest may have been the trigger point where they believe he might talk or authorities might be getting closer to disrupting the entire network so they moved it up more quickly. >> i know we don know the type of explosive here but based on what we see, the damage that we see particular in the airport lounge are these, would you assume, the kind of explosives that are easy to get your hands on or manufacture and create? we're so know how weapons have obtained by terrorists. does it look to be a device that would be sophisticated? >> with these networks we have seen they have had the ability to get their hands on weapons whether it be long guns or explosive devices, et cetera. it's still unclear. this is still very early in the investigation whether it's a
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walking through with a large piece of luggage. the impact of the blast and the ka catastrophe caused by the blast indicates a larger payload. something secluded into luggage or a larger bag. investigators will make the determination as they start to do the analysis. >> we talk about security and the fact that this is quite a soft target. that this occurred in the case of the airport presecurity. but that is not to say that there is no security in this part of the airport. tom costello remembers the departure lounge. what do you know about the security that is often employed in these portions of airports? >> you know, i think that post paris, especially, the alert level has been high. intellce
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concerned about the soft targets and transportation hubs being targeted. while there's not a physical inspection, there are no other type of devices to do those types of surveys, there are police officers both in uniform and in soft clothes doing surveillance. they're looking for people acting suspiciously. you often have bomb dogs walking throughout the airport we see the same measures domestically. it's more of a low profile but they're out there. in the case where you have a lot of people congregating at the height of the morning rush. 8:00 in the morning. people getting ready to take off. we have a holiday weekend coming up here. when you have that many people together, surveillance is not always the most effective. the most effective is that physical touch which they wouldn't get until they were heading toward the gate. >> an event like this sets off a chain of events in other europeanit
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obviously there's an identified terror cell in brussels in this particular neighborhood and now what, give me some insight, what is happening in counter terrorism agencies throughout europe right now? >> matt, this is throughout europe and globally. we'll see an enhanced investigative and intelligence effort. this is all about gathering intelligence. any time we see a situation like this we talk about intelligence. in the last few weeks prior to abdeslam being arrested there were people that were arrested and a lot of interviews that were conducted. all of that is in an effort to be able to see through the front windshield. how can we get out in front of this and disrupt this type of activity rather than trying to investigate it on the back end as it happened. that's exactly what investigators are doing now. they're using signals intelligence to intercept communication and they're
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they can in the community. people that have been arrested recently in the last few weeks to try to make an determination. who else may be involved and are there other attacks that are in place? i would be interested to see what came out of the interviews. there was some media reporting that he was talking to investigators and to see what came out of that and where that leads investigators but this is going to be throughout europe over the next few days and weeks because everybody is on alert while brussels is considered to be the epicenter here, this is throughout europe and quite honestly in the united states we'll be on similar heightened alert. >> thank you very much. pete williams, are you still with us? pete are you there? >> pete is talking to a source next to me on the phone. let me just pick it up if you don mind. i got a facebook message fro
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brussels and works at the european commission but she says the second explosion happened in a subway station that she uses from time to time. it's the one closest to the office for the european union however many, many, colleagues use this daily. i'm very worried about them and i'm worried that they will not be well. she is translating from french into english. she can't get a clear picture as to who is is accounted for and who is not. she is asking for people to pray for them. the belgian prime minister saying that many, many are dead and many injured. >> tom, thank you very much. we talked earlier to kelly. some footage in the darkened tunnels of the subway system in brussels. we talked to kelly that was on a train heading into brussels and we understand that journey has taken an unexpected turn, kelly. >> that's right, matt. just after we were on the phone the phone lines pam very
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the train stopped and we were held at a signal for probably a good 20 minutes before we were told anything and then told that the train station was being closed that this was for our security and safety and we were being turned around and sent back to france. so i am now talking to you where we have been told we'll see an increased police presence and security presence at train stations throughout france and we are seeing some of that and also a lot of just confused passengers trying to figure out how to reroute their journeys now. from what i was told on the train, but really it's very, very difficult now to get into brussels and into belgium. we have been told from that border from belgium into france has been closed. no way in from the train certain. the train station has been closed. they're shutting that city down as they try to figure out
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or we have seen tend of it. >> kelly, thank you. one of the goals of terrorism to bring things to a stand still and change the daily lives of citizens and they have accomplished that. they have shutdown air traffic in and out of belgium. the rail system and the subway system in brussels and as kelly just report they have shutdown train systems and train travel into belgium as well. >> they also suspended the cell service that adds to that level of tension and fear as people are trying to locate after finding out the welfare of loved ones that are there. the officials are actively encouraging people not to use cell phones but instead use social media to let relatives and friends know they are okay. facebook has activated it's special system that allows people to indicate on their pages they're doing okay and as
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town. not surprising that our correspondent and anybody else trying to get into brussels is not able to do so and even less surprising is probably quite hard to get out of brussels at this point. not least because of the transportation issues but investigators have to be having that net around the city fearing what happened in paris where one of the attackers was able to escape in the hours on november 13th. that escaper who then remained on the run for more than 100 days and was just arrested on friday in brussels and one of the key questions this morning, matt, of course is what is the connection there? is it a direct consequence. is it something planned for sometimes. perhaps they felt it tightening. perhaps people that were watching what happened as they got closer to the cop
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the area of brussels that is said to be a center point for radicalism so these are all questions that we are looking into this morning. >> so hard to contain something like this. unlike other countries around the world and even here where we're used to a border between the united states and mexico flex or the united states and canada, this is the european union. the boarders are inkrvisible. belgium isn't that big of a country by the way into the surrounding countries so it's difficult to stop someone from going in or stop someone from getting out. >> u.s. senior officials telling me that the president has been notifi notified. susan rice is here with him as well as john kerry on this trip. senior officials that
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kerry and rice and others in the national security complex are in touch with their belgian counter parts. they're talking to intelligence officials and the european counter parts on what warnings they may have had and information they may have had. security is very tight here. i have to tell you hen we came here from the hotel this morning the roads were closed and also the president is due today to be giving a major speech to the cuban people on cuban television so there was already tight security but we had to make all kind of detours to get here this morning and you were just pointing that that belgium is the european capitol. there was a lot of criticism after the european union after the paris attacks that their security officials were not communicating well on intelligence threats similar to the experiences
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after 9/11. too much stove piping. there were not communications abroad broad sweeps. well now this second major attack in a western european capitol this is going to be another threat not only to the european union but the so called ability to travel without vsa or passport this is going to have big sbi gragss because it helped with a terror threat. whether or not that's true that's the reality and in germany, the bad election for angela merkel with the right wing parties gaining strength in some of those midterm elections. so a lot of implications in france and germany for the leadership and this is obviously going
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u.s. as well. >> andrea mitchell traveling with the president in cuba. you're looking at images from brussels belgium this morning. two explosions at the airport there. at least one in the subway system. it happened at the morn rush hour when the airports and the subways would have been jammed with travellers. we know of at least 13 fatalities as a result of this. many other people have been injured and there's reports that that fatality number is expected to rise. the people are now living under the highest terror alert level that is possible for them. it is the highest level meaning that another attack or imminent attack is very possible. >> the prime minister confirming it is a terror attack. many dead and many injured in these
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those explosions. one at the airport at this busy, busy time when people are getting ready to depart. the other at a subway station. at least one subway station. this one very near to the seat of government for the european union. it's frequented by government officials. this happened at 8:00 a.m. brussels time so as the morning was just getting started and perhaps a type chosen to inflict maximum damage and we have seen incredible images in particular coming out of the airport. that departure lounge that's so familiar to any airport traveller. a crowded, crowded room and now we see passengers leaving. people looking shell shocked as they try to take the toll here this morning. this had to be an incredibly powerful blast. >> it's the great hall area.
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those are ceiling tiles on the floor right now. it was an extremely large explosion. we're not sure if it was the same device used on the subway but the results were devastating and we know that 13 people died but the fear is that total will two much higher. >> these are people who have been living under a great deal of tension in and, perhaps, recent years. fearing this very thing would happen. the belgium prime minister saying, our worst fears have come true. we were hit by what he called a blind attack. >> after the arrest of abdeslam on friday, you wonder if there was an inkling of relief among the belgium people that this terror leader, the planner of the paris attacks, had been captured. i'm sure many others worried about the consequences of that arrest and the fallout and
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pushed into action. we'll have more ahead from new york. our correspondents are fanned out, and we'll give you the latest information the second we have it. we'll take a break, allow our stations to reset. we'll be back with you in a second. good morning. breaking news. terror in brussels. powerful explosions rocking the airport and the city subway system overnight. reports of at least 15 people killed. dozens more injured. this morning, the chilling images from inside the airport and underground, a passengers are evacuated from train cars through darkened and smokey tunnels. a senior counter-terror official this morning telling nbc news, isis, the terror group, is likely behind the attacks. the hunt for suspects is underway today, tuesday, march 22nd, 2016. good morning, everybody. welcome to this edition of "today" on tuesday morning. i'm savannah

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