tv NBC 6 South Florida Today at 530am NBC March 22, 2016 5:30am-6:00am EDT
respond and what kind of safety measures will they take as a precaution amid this attack here in brussels. so they are talking to homeland security and also several agencies to figure out exactly what their game plan is moving forward. m.i.a. does fly to brussels, however, they don't have any flights to the weekend. we did check on that just in case. you know, no flights are going into the brussels airport. everyone has been evacuated in that area. there have been a lot of numbers floating around, how many people are killed. it's important not to get bogged down in the numbers because as the investigation continues, they're going to find even more casualties perhaps. it's important to remember that there have been multiple casualties. the big concern is this terror related. this happened in the same area where salah abdeslam was just arrested. the question is was this retaliation o o was this something that was accelerated, had already been in the works but was accelerated amid these
>> we want to get back to the that special report but we want to tell you if you're headed to the airport, we haveno idea how this will impact the ft. lauderdale airport or miami international airport. call your airline and fire out if things are okay, whether there will be any disturbances in terms of flight times or get together%the airport or restrictions in terms of how can get curbsbde and who cannot. give yourself extra time regardless of where yur travight take you today. lut's s t you back to the nbc news special report. >> -- as a result there's always a choke point, a bottleneck 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 that earlier picture.e. you go through the checkpoint, you go through their security
then what you're seeing are the concourses that feed down to the various planes. the fact that this happened in belgium, which is a country that has been athe heart of this fight involving islamic terrorismm for some time, the people who live in belgium, mily members who live there, will tell you they have been time. they have felt the very nature of their country change over the last 20 to 25 years in ways that happen which with. they believe increasingly their government has allowed people to come in with suspect backgrounds, not checked thoroughly and given social stipends to live off of and popoce are not watching them. the laws in gel jum are such that they have had a lot of problems not just with terror suspects but regular criminals as well, apprehending them, keeping them in custody. there's been a lot of talk over the years and a lot has been
dysfunction within the belgium government and whether right now they are now in some ways trying to come to grips with that certainly ast relates to their legal system. you are there, right there looking at downtown brussels. that is near the eu headquarters. so this is separate from the brussels airport, probably ten miles away or so. this is the area that is on lockdown right now we believe. >> tom, dwrukd about the timing, that at the airport there may have been americans lookingnghe book flights coming back to this country. the timing, 8:00 a.m. local tierm. when you go to the other side of the story, the bombing, at least one, perhaps multiple bombings in subway stations or metro stations, obviously the height of the morning comte. >> reporter: absolutely correct. it's not just a timing for the brussels airport, but across the entire capital of europe.
this network that includes the rail system that connects all of europe. you a situation where you have many people who flood in to brussels to work every single day and they take the subways and trains during the day, at the ends of the day, a aer work. i would also tell you that we are very concerned about friends of ours who live and work at the brussel airport, and we have not heard from yet. my wife has been on thphone, you would expect, with family members in belgium as well. the explosion is what they're concerned about. these images here4 the explosion at the metro system at the eu hhdquarters. those are the images right there. the brandweer, the phlegm mish word for fire department. belgium is a trilingual country, phlegmish french and -- they
divide up the city. it's a very peculiar city in that regard. people think of belgium as a french city, b t the truth is there are more flemish in the general area tn french. >> our reporter has ordered a shelter in place order issued. let us not forget this is among other things the capital of europe. so it's a strategic target, also a symbolic target. as we've been talking this morning, brussels itself, particularly this neighborhood known as maelbeek has been a hot bed of islamic radicalism and something that has been very difficult it seems for the belgian authorities to get ahold of. you mentioned the laws -- i just read this morning, in the search
thought they had him. there's a law preventing nighttime raids in brussels, so they were unable to go after him. >> reporter: from an american perspective, some of these laws seem absolutely silly in which they quite literally were not allowed under belgian law to stage policeaids overnight, between the hours of midnight % and 5:00 a.m. anyone from law enforcement knows that's usually the optimal time to conduct a raid because you catch people while they're sleeping. there have been a host of laws and bureaucratic rules that i think almost every belgian will tell you hampered the ability of the police and judicial systemm in belgium to do their jobs. they're now trying to come to terms with that. they're dealing with a mass of bureaucracy involving multiple languages and competing interests. the image you're looking at now,
my family, in-laws live not far from there. you're see people walkg out of the brussels airport through that town, that little village. if they have no train service, no metro service and no taxis, all these people have no choice but to evacuate the brussels airport biwalking away, walking down the hihiways and the roads and trying to find some way to get back towards the middle of the town or the rail system. that's going to be very difficult with so much of the system polarized at this hour. >> even though this is the capital, it is difficult to get accurate information. i want to go through some of the information we're receiving now. much of this coming from belgian broadcasters. weweentioned there's at least one confirmed person dead after these attacks burks belgian broadcasters are saying that total could be anywhere between
so multiple fatalities. many people have been injured at the attack at the airport. we're getting very little in the way of footage. cell phone footage orp anything from the subway attacks. we know of at least one bomb going off in a metro station in brussels, perhaps more than that. belgium, by the way, raised its terror threat level to the highest 4re68 four meaning serious a a imminent attack. obviously as this has happened this morning, that would seem a little late and obvious. we have no indication whether there is any kind of securitor terror alert status change in this country. tom, you'd be one of the first people to know that based on your history at airports and knowing what happens with transportation in this country. bu again, as we mentioned, this all comes four days after the arrest of salah abdeslam who was said to be the ringleader, one
terror attacks back on november 13th of last year when he was arrested by belgian thorities. he is said to ha said that other things had been planned. the big question, was this previously planned or did accomplices of his simply decide that too much was at stake, too much was at risk for their identities and locations after his arrest and they simply accelerated some kind of a plan. >> i want to go to pete williams who is standing by in our washington bureau. you're one of our first to usually get information to the extent it's comininto this government and federal officials here. are you able to add to the reporting at all this morning? 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
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. they are telling us to tell 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 o e extent there are checks on vehicles. you can expect to see more of those. 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
not based on any information that they have intelligence information. but based on simply what is publicly knowow >> pete we know that officials in belgium after the aest of abdeslam were worried that something would happ. was there much talk here in the united states about that fear? >> well, there was talk about 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 t ow 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 involvednd 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
>> 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 ctate, isis, is suspected to be behind this attack or multiple attacks. as you have been seeing through the morning we have seen susutantial damage at brussels airport. the kind of damage t tt is difficult to believe that one explosion would cause. if it was, it would have to be a sible bomb. and damage too at the metro stion. so that appears as if we are talking about a mtiple 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
so sa la abdeslam, who was arrested on friday in connection with the paris attacks telli authorities, according to the french prosecutor that he was planning further attacks. alerts have been i should for others, other accomices that they believe have been working with him. many questions now over who is behind this and whether -- compelled tooove 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. bu we've seen these types of things in the past und thescope of that damage in there looks like something that could be caused by a belt or suitcase because extreme damage. >> quite simply 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
so very quickly officials will be trying to figure out how much plosives 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 with the paris attacks. 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 thatattack 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
information and would l le to get in on this discussion. tom go. >> only so far as can we go back to those main stills in the main as i mention i am intimately familiar wh this airport. this is the main terminal where 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 w ere you would have hundreds and i've got to say as i'vstoooo 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 teteinal. >> is that the international departures. >> as all mixes. so you would be standing next to somebody getng on a flight for the u.s., on a u.s. carrier.
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 destinatiti you will go to different concourses but the main terminal where that picture is from is where everybody wou be standing and the devastation i'm seeing, i 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 andnd certainly security officials will be asking is what they can do in light of these attacks. you talk about the departures lounge how many mes 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
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 people have been killed in this 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 curbsidi 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 terro attacks in paris and the tracing of the roots of those attacks to certain neighborhoods in the brussels area. the@ people of belgium are n
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 few days. >> 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 thorities. 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
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 online of other modes of 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.
not like theunited states where you travel between a border betwee here for example and canada or even with the s sthern 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 the were trying to find suspects fleeing. 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
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. and you have to imagine the heat will be turned up on him substantially after these attacks. >> nouestion about that. there have been conflicting reports frankly aut the extent of his cooperation. some early are reports are that he was being cooperative. which was i thinknk 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 potenenally a very important person but, you know,
turn him and get information, i don't know. i will say thithough. it is often surprising how much information doessome 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 els may be involved. that is the critical question. what else is out here? what else is planned. who else is involved. where else shoul 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 ang 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 thehe question of where he stood in the terrorist network after that.
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 that with a grain of salt this 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
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 openin that they had that much coordination and that muchh planning and decision making ahead of time to go through that sort of process. didn't they also in one of the apartments find boxes of unopened and unused cell phon? >> well that's sadly become sort of standard tde 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 t t sim card
use them a shorteriod of time and then throw them away and use a different phone in order t/ 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. but it didn't take terrorists 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 ling up at kiosks to check into flights whether to
united states or elsewhere but clearly someone or some people pullll up to that departure area, d donated 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. countless others injured. 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
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 come in as we watch what unfolds in brussels, the heart of europe and a city on lockdown right now. >> the people of europe waking up to images of terror. people allround the world waking up to the same as you watch the injured beingarried away from the airport in brussels this morning. >> we'll take a moment a let our stations pause and rejoin us at the top of the ho. good evening, everybody. 6:00 a.m. on the east coast, 3:00 a.m. in the west and 11:00 a.m. in brussels belgium. terror attacks at the airport
we have matt lauer with me as we cover this. we're going to pause for a moment to let our stations join in. >> here's what we know at this hour. just after 8:00 local time in brussels this morning there were two explosions at the airport there. one in the curb side check in area. the other inside the departure terminal. the second of those two blasts, we're not sure of the order of them but the departure terminal blast sealed to be devastating. a large explosive device that did enormous damage. 13 people confirmrm 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 to a tararc area where they were held for awhile.
effort made to make sure that the people walking away were passengers and not members of the terrorroup and a short time later attacks in the metro system. >> just striking fear in the heart of europe this morning. let's get to keir simmons following this along with us. we just heard from the prime minister of b b bum what we feared all along. yes, indeed, this is a terror attack. >> that's right, savannah. brussels is in lock down now. rail stations, the airport, rams, buses, all shutting down for fear of a further attack around just aftft 8:00 a.m. local time. we first heard reports o some kind of an explosion at the airport and then we began to get the pictures of windows blown out and debris around. it was becoming clear quickly