back of the airport. this has become the staging arm for the reinforcements. police parked here and heading into the airport. the situation now appears calm. that wasn't the case an hour or so ago. eyewitnesses described some horrifying scenes, broken glass. people stretchered out past them. other media reporting they had gunfire, an exchange of words in arabic. we're working to pin that down. what we do know from authorities at this point is two explosions in the airports, explosions at a central train station, the maalbeek train station near the european commission. the highway underpasses, airport, all on lockdown. belgium is on lockdown.
they have asked all residents to stay indoors. this is the second time since the second world war this has happened. the first was in the immediate aftermath of the paris terror attacks. what that means is belgian authorities can deploy soldiers onto the streets. we saw soldiers and people really confused and fearful, alisyn. >> do they think the people responsible, the terrorists have been accounted for? did they blow themselves up, or are they still looking for people? >> they are being very scant with the details they're giving. they asked for people's understanding. at this point in time they believe that it was a suicide attack but they don't want to go into any more details to try to
get on the investigation. this comes three day after the minister believed there was a new network that had grown up around an she slam planning on carrying out attacks here in belgium. we have stressed we have not received confirmation from any authorities as to what took part in these attacks, who they believe was responsible for it. they have been warning for days now that the capture of abdeslam was not the end of the security situation here and many more dangerous men still being sought out. >> we are looking at the aftermath of the after shots, people on their cell phones. can you understand where this happened? is this right at the entrance point of the airport, or was this inside security? >> this was inside the departure hole. when you arrive at brussels airport, you two through with your luggage into the departure
hole. it's only after you check in that you go through security. a lot of people we have been speaking to inside the airport say there was a sense of heightened security. that around them they felt there was a number of officers and it was much more tight than they had been used to in the past. this is a country that has been reappraising its alert levels. it had been a three for a while. authorities are watching closely to see if it would need to be pushed up. many of the eyewitnesses said that was very much reflected in what they were they are being subjected to. there was very much a sense of watchfulness. this was before they had crossed through the security check points that these explosions were detonated. >> the watchfulness couldn't stop this. this is -- here in the united
states at airports, before you get to that x-ray, the magn magnetometer. there was not much they could do. >> i just want to give you breaking news that has come in right now. the prosecutor has confirmed this was a suicide attack, alisyn. we have that confirmation. this was a suicide attack at brussels airport. just going back to the point you were making a little earlier. yes, there have been criticisms. it is very difficult to levy the criticisms immediately after an attack when people are so heartbroken. the authorities handling not just the search for abdeslam who was found a street away from his childhood home in the
neighborhood where the search initially started for him in the days and hours after the paris attack. even prior to this, intelligence agencies across europe and the u.s. have had a lot of concerns about the belgian authorities with their homegrown jihadi problem and the broader security tightening not just at airports but train stations and other connection points. belgium is the capital of europe. this is where nato is, the european commission is. everyone who comes to do business with europe comes. this has been a real source of concern for authorities. that's going to be unpicked and looked over i'm sure in the days and weeks to come. now we know this was a suicide attack that was carried out this morning at rush hour, alisyn. >> a couple more questions about the breaking news. we understand that the prosecutor used the word
coordinated terror attack regarding the attacks at the metro station and the brussels airport. do they believe there were three of them, do you know? >> no. they haven't given us any figures yet. when they give out the figures, they're talking not just talking about the immediate attackers. but they will be looking at the broader networks. who dropped them off? who harbored them. these are the questions they will be looking to answer right now. those are the people still on out there. that broader network. the focus isn't now on those you know have taken themselves out of the running as an immediate risk. that suicide bomb per limb nataled himself from your thinking by no longer posing a threat as of now. it's the broader network that are out there so you will be concerned about. that's going to be uppermost in the prosecutor's thoughts. our understanding is that they believe it was a complex attack.
so that would involve multiple individuals, multiple locations, alisyn. >> we understand it's coming from the office of the king's prosecutor as it is referred to belgium. they made the assessment this was a suicide bomber. had they drawn a connection between what happened today and the arrest of abdeslaabdeslam. >> the theory in the days since the arrest of abdeslam is that when you shake the hornet's nest what's going to come out, that's been the worry. and we have seen in the past that the concern about what comes to light fast forward anything they have to place that has been their biggest fear, those within that network that
was plotting a new attack. so we're talking about two separate networks at least at this point. they were concerned about the con spear con spore spear tors. they are talking about a new network that had built up around abdeslam that was planning new attacks here. their worry was with the capture of abdeslam, any plans could have been fast forwarded were concerned they themselves would become targeted or their plans might be neutralized by authorities. so that is the theory they are working on at the moment, of course we have no confirmation of that. so much is still fluid. authorities are looking to change every single line of investigation they have, alisyn. >> thank you for all the information.
please stand by. obviously we'll come back to you as more details come out of the airport there. in the meantime, chris is in havana, cuba. chris. a quick recap of the new information there. according to the authorities in belgium, they are handling this as a terror situation. they are handling it as a coordinated suicide attack. details will be coming out as the day continues. right now they are dealing with the urgency. they have more than a dozen dead in one location. close to a dozen in another. that's the immediate concern. the pictures you're looking at is an emergent situation. vehicles flying around trying to tend to those still very much in need. that's going to be going on at the same time as trying to figure out why this happened. there is no question that there is a real concern in belgium and surrounding europe about what may come next. this is a common thread. now to nic robertsonen in london with the latest.
you have been working your sources. we are hearing the security situation in france also on alert where you are and of course everyone has known that belgium has become a rat's nest for these types of concerns of terror networks, nic. >> we have heard from british prime minister david cam son. he is shocked and concerned. france, as you say, is on a higher level of awareness and readiness. it was a concern and had been a concern going into the weekend. once abdeslam was captured, concerned that other cells could be given up by him under in tear allegation. if they had to act, they had to act quickly. isis might try a revenge attack. we don't know that's the case this time. and within the arrest of
abdeslam, one of the premises he was at detonating equipment was found there, which gave the impression that he was still planning and potential preparation, detonation equipment would be used -- would be necessary as part of a suicide arrest. we don't have details from the apart raid from last tuesday. it tipped the authorities off that it was real, still active. we know as well if we delve a little deeper into the history in belgium of terror threats going back almost a decade now, al qaeda back then had plans to attack the metro system in brussels and would see the threat level focused on the stations themselves. we have seep that go up. they have enacted tougher security right after the paris terror attacks. so the pitting that emerges from
europe is one that the threat level in belgium at its highest across europe. steps are being taken to make sure it is safer. the nato headquarters have announced they also have gone on to a higher security level, aware there could be more attacks potentially coming through. >> all right. let's broaden this discussion. we want to bring in former cia counterterrorism official. cnn terrorism analyst, terrorism studies journal ctc, sentinel and michael weiss, author of isis inside the army of terror. paul, let me start with you. nobody better connected to the situation in belgium.
what are you understanding now about where they're taking this. the official word from the prosecutor is it is being investigated as terror. what else do we know? >> the immediate concern is there could be more a tabs in brussels in the hours ahead. this was a coordinated gun and bomb attack in the heart of europe at brussels airport. shots fired. shots of allahu akhbar. some kind of explosion, maalbeek metro station right in brussels. this is an attack on the heart of europe. a concern that this is connected to saleh abdeslam. he was arrested at his long-term safe house where he was hiding
for quite some time. they found ammunition, some kind of plan was in the works. were other members part of that cell who are still at large who accelerated plans once he was arrested to launch some kind of attack as the dragnet came down on the group in brussels. that is certainly one theory right nowment the working theory will be this is connected in some way to isis given what we have seen play out in brussels over the last several weeks. >> michael, is there any reason to believe that it is not connected to isis? it seems to have some of the hallmarks we have seen. >> as paul mentioned, the shouting of allahu akhbar.
it is honeycombed with sleeper agents. what i found remarkable about this, even if it was so-called revenge for the capture of saleh abdeslam, the planning and preparation for this will have taken months as a coordinated attacks. they had to get explosives ready. they had to surveil targets in the airport and the metro station. it shows a remarkable degree of fluidity. they can go operational in the space of about 72 hours. that has belgium counterterrorism officials absolutely terrified. it shows abdeslam, remember, he was meant to explode his suicide vests. he seems to have chicken out. now it seems he is cooperating with belgian authorities. isis got wind of that. and they fear whatever intelligence he has will be
given to european officials. >> so let's bring you in and talk about the location of the bombing there at the airport. we understand it was at the departure area of the airport there. and we know that it was ahead of the security area. again, no screening. the screening is done after that. this is a real point of concern. because you can't, as we talked about, you can't control who is coming into that area. security happens afterwards after they get to the passenger boarding area. >> that's right. there will be questions about how do you cover the facilities, airports and trains. i don't think that's the right question. from a security perspective, it will be the human hunt. how do you find the people responsible for this in brussels and syria. you have been focusing on this four months after paris.
there will be concerns about the departure. my concern is can you find the person responsible and can you take them out within two, three days. >> your understanding of the terror and intelligence work going on in belgium, how that is being coordinated specifically by france. as you know, and i'm sure you were here just as i was, very soon after the attacks at 8:00 a.m. local time when they happened at the airport, the french were immediately frustrated, immediately worried how they had been raising their antenna, had they been asking for more. this is how we have been able to anticipate these attacks. >> there has been quite strong coordination between french and belgian authorities. they have been working to understand what happened behind
the terror attacks and take them into custody. we have seen more than 10 arrests of significant figures in belgium directly linked shrug saleh abdeslam. this is a challenge they are experiencing right now. more than 6,000 european extremists have traveled to syria and iraq. many of them joining isis. more than 1,500 are back in europe. the numbers may be larger. they do not have the resources to keep europe safe right now. that's just the bottom line. even if they tripled their budget they wouldn't have what they need. they are overstretched. it is a very small country with nothing like the resources of the united states, nothing like the technical resources like an organization like the fbi might have. the challenge there is much
larger, much bigger threat than anything the united states is witnessing right now. at this hour, as phil was alluding to, there is concern a bomb maker still may be at large. it is possible his identity is laachraoui who was identified can just yesterday as being one of the members of the paris conspiracy still at large. his fingerprints were found at the bomb be factory in brussels, suggesting it is possible that he had some role in building those device. we know he is still at large. he played a very significant role in the attacks. belgian authorities believe in paris, coordinating them over the phone in real-time, in touch with the various teams in paris attacking the stadium, the cafes, and the bataclan concert hall. he is still at large.
and he may have been able to produce these kinds of devices. that of course is very worrying indeed. >> i'm going to bring in peter bergen to build on that. as we are listening to paul talking about their may be a thrift or more, we are hearing from the french interior minister briefing right now. 1,600 additional police officers are being deployed in france to the borders and to transit hubs. obviously after what happened in the paris terror attacks and "charlie hebdo", paris believes if there's a coordinated attack, they, too, might be part of it. what do you understand? >> i think the key here is the nature of explosives. if it turns out to be tatp, a hydrogen per oxide bomb, that
leads it to the paris terror attacks. they are quite difficult to make. it's not something you can get off the internet and make yourself. you have to be trained. the ingredients are highly unstable, which is why people tend not to use these except in case where they are trying to hide their terrorist activities. we saw them used in the london 777 attacks in which 52 commuters were killed. we saw it in paris where 130 were killed. we have seen this repeatedly as kind of the signature of both al qaeda and isis in attacks in europe and attempted attacks even in the united states. w saw an american citizen attempt to blow up a hydrogen per rocks i'd bomb eighth anniversary of 9/11. he was arrested and two other americans that were part of this plot.
al qaeda first perfected it and it is now being transferred to isis. i think as soon as we can determine the nature of the explosives, that will be understanding what the precise links to isis, alisyn. >> nic, hopefully you're able to hear us. the explosions come in the days after the arrest of saleh abdeslam. couldn't these attacks have been triggered by the apprehension of this man? >> that is something counterterrorism officials will be looking at. he is a man with a track record. he was involved in procuring chemical and devices that could be used as detonators. that was in of the terror attacks. it raises the question of his level of involvement. not just in the logistics side.
it has been well documented by french authorities. of course what is going to cause concern now in retrospect, the first hours of questioning, saturday morning before saleh abdeslam went before a judge to determine how much longer he should be held, his lawyer said that abdeslam was cooperating with the police. now, if that didn't ring a warning to his cellmates that they needed to move along whatever they were planning if they were planning something, or worse than that. if somehow this had been a preagree coded message of some description. let's not forget. he had been in hiding four months. he had every opportunity to plan every angle of his potential arrest or potential next attack.
so getting a message out to his supporters would probably typically be the first thing on his mind rather than say i've been arrested after being on the run and getting in shootouts with the police much. now i'm going to tell everything. there has to be concern by authorities. looking back on that in retrospect, determining the wiseness, if you will, allowing any information to have come from him getting in the public domain. but it does have to be a point of concern. albeit too late. jeff was at the brussels airport when the attacks happened. jeff, can you hear me? >> yes i can hear you. >> jeff, where were you when the explosions went off? >> i was at the departure hole when the bomb went off, yeah. >> jeff, you had not yet gone
through security? >> no. the security is after you ticket and then you go to security. >> tell me what you saw. >> at first i was not aware it was a bomb yet. immediately people panicked. there was shouting. then there was another one that was much more powerful than the first one. there was some panic. the creel was coming down. people were on the floor. people were injured. it was quite a mess. >> were you close enough to see or hear the attackers who police are saying were suicide bombers? >> no.
because the departure hole is on the top floor. it happened two floors below us. where i was is because i was there. that's why we didn't see anything off the deck, no. >> at least 13 people were killed at the airport this morning. can you tell us the scene of what you saw after the explosions? >> i can believe that. on the floor i was on, a lot of people were on the floor. they were injured. >> how was it, jeff, that you were not injured when you were in an area of so much carnage? >> i think i was lucky. i was very lucky. i think i have a guardian angel somewhere. i was very lucky. >> jeff, where were you headed? do you have a sense if a
particular area or airline was targeted? >> no. i was heading to rome. >> what happened afterwards? >> people started to scream, running around. it took a while when you saw security. then you saw like the army came in. they were evacuating the whole building. they forced us to go out as fast as we could to get in the parking lots. they were assembling people. they were evacuating. you saw in the airport there was regular activity like you always
see. by the moment the bomb went off, i think it was 10 to 15 minutes, something like that. >> how quickly did you figure out that it was a terror attack? >> you cannot believe it. ist is so insane. you think not in my backyard. i travel so much. i never had the feeling to be in an up safe area. but now it is quite scary. >> were you traveling alone, jeff? >> yes. i was traveling alone, yeah. >> once you made it to the parking garage, what happened? how did you get out? >> i got out as fast as i could. i did not stay in the area. i was able to take my car and to drive out. >> of the people that you saw bloodied and injured, were people able to get them help? how quickly were you seeing
emergency crews helping them? >> i'm thinking 10 minutes is when they arrived. it was quite fast. they were taken one by one by police, the army, the fire departments quite fast. it seems to be quite well organized. >> jeff, you say you travel all the time. were you aware -- how conscious were you of brussels being a danger ar? after the paris attacks, we have heard so much about the spider web of investigation and all the potential terror cells in brussels. did you feel a heightened accepts of concern when you traveled through that airport? >> never at all. nephew. i never had the idea that there's any danger whatsoever.
no. if we all think like that, then we do not travel anymore. i believe we have to do the opposite. >> we heard that same sentiment in paris when they were they are there after the attacks at the bataclan and elsewhere. people felt they had to turn out in force. i'm just reading the breaking news that not only is paris deploying more 1,600 officers, but london is deploying all sorts of police officers to their transit hubs. i'm sure rome, where you were traveling to, will do the same. does it feel something is changing in europe? >> well, maybe they are realizing they have people who should not be here. i think it has to happen before they take care of this problem.
>> jeff, where do you live? >> cannes. >> has life changed after the paris attacks for you as a traveler? >> to me, no. to be honest, no, no, no. like i said, if i'm going arrange my agenda by the attacks, then i can stay in my room. i need to travel for my business, so no. >> at least 13 people were killed there right around you at the brussels airport this morning. we have also understand 10 were killed, at least 10, in a subway explosion that was coordinated at the same time. there seems to have been a dozen more injured. can you tell us what your sense is of how many people were injured? >> a lot.
i saw a lot of people who were unable to walk. i think 50, 60 on the floor that i was, yeah. >> jeff, we're sorry that you endured this ordeal. we appreciate you giving us your eyewitness account of what happened there in their part. take care of yourself. thank you. >> okay. bye-bye. >> let's get back to chris. alisyn, thank you very much. no question hearing from that man just moments after such a traumatic experience. he is lucky. many are not lucky. this is a fluid situation. emergency services are on scene. it happened just after 8:00 a.m. local time. very busy time at that major transportation hub there in belgium. there is going to be a lot of
change in terms of who was hurt, who made it and who did not. that's just at the airport, not to mentioned metro attack, which happened after the two explosions at the brussels airport. we'll stay on all of it all morning long. we'll get you the information. on that level, we will be hearing from the belgium prime minister. we heard from the prosecutor's office. yes, this is terror. yes this is being treated as a coordinated suicide attack. right now let's bring in mary scalvo. mary, obviously being sensitive to the reality of travel these days and the fact that many are watching us right now from airports in and around the united states and europe. this is a very well-developed hub here in brussels. you and i have probably been in
and out several times. how this attack was done is not an unusual is theup what we have seen is all over the world. you go through the ticket booth first, and then you go through security. is there anything about this that triggers your concern that you have had for some time. >> absolutely. it is a concern that has been played out in many in the past. munich, rome twice, is vienna, athens. and then after such attacks, including after september 11th in the united states, there were a lot of questions we should secure the airport in advance is of security. we temporarily inspect cars and people coming onto the property. but this has been a weakness exploited by terrorists in the 70s, and into the 90s. i would expect airports will have local authority to inspect cars and people approaching the airport before security.
>> mary, we're hearing about the scrambling of traps all of the place. a lot of it is done as part of the learning curve after what happened in paris. and there was so much immediate understanding how the people had been flying back and forth in cars and otherwise in all of these contiguous countries. this is now a reaction we are seeing where everybody will flood their border patrol early to make sure they can stop people being in transit. that you can do. there are also things you can't do. it is difficult to slow down the flow of people trying to get in the big airports. how do you balance even after you balance something terrible like this. how much can you do to control an aviation hub. >> you're right. it is a balancing act. everyone remembers the united states after september 11th, 2001.
it weighed heavily in favor of slowing things down to the point of stopping. it was very difficult to travel. we had such intensive security. so there has been a balancing act. i think right now probably what they are worried about, there was an attack in rome in vienna. they scheduled at different airports, different countries, one after the other. i would assume that's what authorities are worried about. is there something else coming at another airport. the balancing act is waving off the issue of, well, we don't want to impede travel. right now they wonder if there is another one coming. >> right. now, we did get word from american airlines. there has been some speculation. we'll wait for the authorities to take us through that. american airlines is aware of the incident and taking care of the customers, employees and contractors. at this time everyone is accounted for.
no injuries even. a flight has been canceled for today. obviously they are going to be subject to when that airport is opened. delta air lines put out word that dl-80 may have i loved ones on the atlantic flight to brussels. it landed at that airport. it was parked remotely. they will deal with that. everyone is being diverted. in terms of the steps of understanding this investigation, as thief two forward, do you think this will be a straight terror investigation and let the authorities deal with it? or is there going to be a layering effect here? >> well, there's always a layering effect when there are multiple attacks. it will be a straight terror investigation to the extent that you can have just a limited event. ist won't be. again, terror attacks in the past have tried to have a
broader pact in just one area. in previous attacks they have used multiple attacks in successive days. that's what they will try to guard against. >> mary, thank you so much. there was a coordinated terror attack at the airport. 13 are dead, dozens wounded. metro station, reports of a bombing and 10 people have been killed. let us turn to the airport. nema is outside the airport, which is sort of a staging area for the police. can you bring us up to date on the latest scene. is the threat considered contained at the airport now?
>> there are a number that has gone out. traffic is moving to some extent. what they are concerned is creating gridlocks, chokeholds is and a chaps for greater panic. they are trying to move people through as quickly as possible. their message then is then go home. they are containing the threat here. they are concerned about what else could still be out there. part of pushing that out to the maximum is to give the powers to do that. to deploy soldiers and greater security on the streets. in order to do that safely and to not create other softer targets they are asking people not to conjugate and to staeup indoors. they have shut down the metro stations and the under passes. brussels is a city with a lot of underpasses in many of its major roads. they shut down in a down.
they are asking everybody to stay indoors. the city is in effect in lockdown. >> authorities telling people at the airport to go home, to go away. but, again, if all the metro systems are shut down, especially with the fact that another bombing at the maalbeek metro station not far from the european parliament, only 500 yards from there, it makes it a challenge, how do you get those people safely and out of the area? >> well, security officers, we have been observing them, especially the passengers that were evacuated from the airport, they were trying to get them out in single file. they were moving them as safely as possible. i know from a lot of people i have been speaking to, people are trying to pick people up from different areas. there is a real sense of communities here trying to come together, making sure everyone is safe.
unfortunately, because this is this is an emergency situation, people are having a lot of trouble getting through to their loved ones. facebook set is up a check-in for belgium. the dutch red cross, they set up a website to check in and say i am safe. it will allow friends and family, people who find them on the street to help get them home while this situation is being resolved. >> nema, thank you very much for all the updates. stand by. we want to bring in jim bitterman. he is live in paris where they are reacting to the attack. this is months after paris itself came under siege. what is the latest at this hour? >> alisyn, the nervousness has not gone away, i can tell you that. a couple of things in the
immediate aftermath of the attacks in brussels. a cell established at the foreign ministry as well as is a meeting taking place at the presidential palace still under way at this hour between the president, the defense minister, interior minister. they have just come out and announced there will be 1,600 more police, reinforcing security around the airport and other transportation hubs. it is something everyone is taking very, very seriously. one of the things the terrorist attacks here that has come out in the last few days, these are huge networks involved in these attacks. there may have been 30 or 40 people involved in terms of logistic supports and others. there is a great fear about who else is still out there. the kinds of things we have seen that nema is reporting is so
different than what you see in the suburbs here. the other day the prime minister had awful statistics, frightening statistics, about the number of people who have been radicalist. maybe as many as 300 people who have come back from the war zones in iraq and syria. and some were arrested. some had been arrested. but the whereabouts of a lot of those people are unknown to authorities. it's a kind of situation that has everybody on edge. >> yes. chilling developments in paris and in brussels. thank you very much. of to chris now with an important interview. >> all right. and obviously this is going to be a situation that's being dealt with specifically. dozens and dozens of people badly injured in and around brussels. so the prime minister there, charles michel is addressing the nation. the prime minister of belgium. >> -- stabilized the situation
and the site of where there are still concerns. the first emergency was for us to treat the victims, to evacuate the people who were victims of this attack to different hospitals, to take them to different hospitals. there were numerous numbers of dead and numerous people who were wounded, sometimes seriously. brought the security level up to 4 with additional measures that are now being taken. strengthening of deployment, border controls, restrictions on public transport which have been implemented at this time. i would like to indicate to you
the -- at this time of the tragedy which is a dark time for our country. more than ever i call on everybody to show calm but also solidarity when faced with a trial, a hardship, a difficult time. we have to face up to this, being united in solidarity and united and joined together. we must continue to follow this situation minute by minute with different security services. with different rescue services i would like to this morning them for the work they have carried out. and i will say to you once again we are completely determined to face up to and manage this situation to pursue the situation in the most adequate way possible.
>> translator: terrorists have murdered. we are now confronted with a situation in which many dead have been -- and that we have lots of injured. so we have taken a position to increase the threat level to level 4. this means that there will be extra security measures. the border controls will be increased and there will also be more restrictions on public transport. and we will also reinforce the presence of the military at several sites. so we are still discussing with the crisis center to see what
extra measures will need to be taken. of course our primary thoughts go to all those injured and all the families of the injured. of course our thoughts also go to all those people who today and at this very moment are unclear about where their beloved are. we know this is a very tragic moment. and i would like to make an appeal to people to please stay as calm as possible but also show our solidarity and to remain united amongst these very difficult circumstances is. >> later, to couple a certain amount of information from the crisis center, the emergency numbers are being set up to
allow people to bring answers to people who are looking for those close to them, their nearest and dearest. i want to clarify that we are in a situation of evacuations which are taking place. it is difficult to get precise answers to questions that are being asked. it is up to hospitals and emergency centers to give precise information concerning the identity of the people. there are also people not of belgian nationality and the embassies are in contact with foreign nationals to bring in this information. i also i wanted to indicate i give the floor now to the federal prosecutor about the judicial procedures. >> thank you, prime minister, ladies and gentlemen.
there were two explosions in the departures hall of the testimony. we had to be certain that there were no more bombs or dangerous objects and luggage. and so it is too early to give a precise number of victims. as the prime minister has just said, the priority is being given to treating the wounded. an instructing judge has -- is carrying out rapid, rapid duty of implementing everything to retrace the possible authors and to see if there are any other
authors who orchestrated their escape. the authorities of zaventem are involved in this inquiry. i cannot give you any more details about the inquiry. the different operations have been set up. different functions and disciplines together all working together to try and normalize the situation and advance it. >> so this morning there were two explosions at the airport of zaventem. one we can assume was committed by a suicide bomber. then a second bomb exploded at maalbeek. we made sure many security officers were sent to brussels and zaventem.
we have also instructed an examining judge to start with the examination work as closely as possible in order to search for any perpetrators. and when it comes to the specific situation in the zaventem airport in the security forc forces, they are working together in the investigation. a lot of work is being done at the moment to try and trace any clues and to look at all camera images. all cctv. i cannot give you any more information. it is still early days. we will do everything possible to try and get a correct overview as soon as possible of the situation at a legal level. >> thank you very much. are there any questions? >> no information yet.
>> i don't have any information -- >> we are listening right now to the prime minister of belgium. he came out and has become obvious in this situation, this is what we feared. now it has happened. a blind attack are the words that he used. the prime minister also made it clear there are a lot of people from other countries involved. belgium is not only a big center for the european union operations but it is a big transportation hub, contiguous with france, netherlands, germany. it is the most depositsly populated area in that area. so many thousands go in and out of this brussels central airport. so the numbers are going to be soft there. dozens and dozens of people very injured. the prime minister did say at least 15 lost their lives at the
secondary explosion which happened after that. 15 have lost their lives there. the numbers may well change. again, we're waiting to hear about the extent of injuries and those who lost their lives at the airport. so now let's get back to the consideration what we just heard from the prime minister. paul, the words blind attack, no matter however you translate them, that's going to come under immediate scrutiny. tell us about this ongoing tension that specific live the french and also the british are having with the bell jan in terms of coordinating intel the movement of people in and out of countries, and the new concept that security is an insecurity. >> they are coordinating information. many countries with many intelligence services.
and they are reluctant for obviously reasons to share information about sources and methods. it's difficult for other services to then evaluate the information. there are serious shortcomings in the information sharing when it comes to people traveling to syria and coming back to europe. more than 6,000 extremists have believed to travel to syria and iraq, many of them joining isis. more than 1,500 back in europe. those are staggering numbers. they are numbers beyond the capacity of european security services to keep the continent safe. this is the new normal now in europe. they say likely an isis attack. they have just rolled up part of a cell in bell adjustment they arrested saleh abdeslam. when they went into their long-term safe house in
brussels, they found an isis flag, qaa hrekaleshnakov, ammun. we will get answers in the hours ahead, chris. >> michael weiss has been standing by. you have been working your sources. what have you learned about an isis connection or anything? >> i mean, there are unconfirmed mutterings. it is true that isis supporters are cheering as they do. they do it all the time when they carry out a mission. since paris, we all have been walking on egg shells waiting for the next major attack. and i have to emphasize, it's not just the capital of europe
that's been struck today. this is the second nato capital in a week's time isis has -- not a nato cap talg but a nato country. that isis has been able to carry out a deadly bombing of this nature. i have seen footage from the subway terminal. i don't know if it's for real but it has been tweeted out showing the scene of the region. the spokesman for isis about a year ago put out a statement saying this is the new phase in isis's foreign operations. he mentioned countries by name. he mentioned, france, pell skwrupl, australia, canada, the united states. he said you haven't seen anything yet. >> this is the video that i think you are referring to. it is just as terrifying and ominous a scene as you can ever imagine. >> that's right. what they are trying to do is bring baghdad to the west. they want to -- they refer to europe or the land of nonmuslims
as the gray zone. it's not really a gray zone. when they are able to carrying out the thots, they have essentially brought the war home. this is happening at an intense and frequent clip. it's not just 1,500 back to europe. if you think of it in epidemiological term, these are patients coming home and radicalizing directly, remotely, prophetize to be willing executioners. that's what worries me too. it's not just trained up. you'll recall in october, he interviewed a detector from internal spaoeup services. he oversaw the training of two
french nationals who returned to france. those two guys have never been was implicated in the attacks. but as the french authorities said i think a week ago, the extent of the network in france and the extent of those actually in some manner logistically connected to the paris massacre was greater than previously assumed. it's the invisible army of the caliphate. they are scattered throughout the world. they are in europe. they are in the united states. they are in every major middle east country. they have done this in 72 hours within the capture of one of their leading figures. it really is terrifying. >> the french prime minister spoke about a threat level that is high. we are at war. this is not a fight we are fighting overseas. that poses a challenge for any
official. >> a recent report was saying 6,900 westerners have gone to train in iraq and sorry kwrafplt the number of americans is low. the threat in europe is high. the threat in the united states is low. we have only seen one example of an american trained by isis who defected. we have seen no accounts of them coming back to the united states. more american viewers it is important to recognized that the threat in europe is very large. we are protected by geography. you can drive from paris to damascus. you cannot drive from damascus to new york. the volume of americans who have gone over is relatively small.
our thanks to peter. stick around with us. more of our continuing coverage starts right now. >> this is cnn breaking news. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. you are watching "new day". we're covering a series of deadly explosions rocking brussels. two blasts at the airport. another at the city's metro system. the death toll rising. we heard from the prime minister in brussels. and he puts the death toll at 28 at least. 13 dead. they are looking at the airport. more obviously at the metro station. these numbers are premature. the airport, which is a major hub, is shut down. in fact, all of brussels is shut down. allowing the authorities to put
more troops on the border. we are hearing the same on france. this is a reflection of this horrible new normal. >> absolutely. the numbers of course are fluctuating. 15 people dead at a separate explosion at a nearby metro station. belgium raising its threat to the highest level. these attacks four days after the main suspect in the paris november attacks was captured in brussels. president obama was briefed in cuba. belgium's prime minister called it, quote, a bad day. live at the pwreuls airport, nema, tell us what you have learned at this hour. >> well, i don't know if you can hear it but military copters have been flying overhead back and forth. part of that distribution on the streets. the raising of the debt level with allow four.
it seems to be where they are shuttling soldiers back and forth from. we understand that in addition to the number of dead at maalbeek, 10 critically wounded. chris was right to say that the numbers that the prime minister announced, they could be premature. the death toll will continue to rise. they're calling on those who want to help to try skppl go to hospitals, clinics, and give blood. they have set up an emergency hotline of those who are safe or attempting to find out if their loved ones are sea, they will try to pass on along. that is adding to a sense of panic. they have asked for a lockdown. they are trying to get people home. a lot of airport has road blocks around it.
they are maintaining some corridors of traffic to allow people to get back into their homes and off the streets, alisyn. >> just a seasons of panic and helplessness at the same time. people want top help. they want to know where their loved ones are, what they can do. of course being in lockdown mode makes it challenging. you are at the airport. that's where the two explosions went off this morning. an hour later, we understand now from authorities, there was another explosion, part of what was a coordinated attack at a metro subway station. 15 people killed there. we're getting our first images i want to show viewers of that. it is just as dark and erie and ominous of the videos that you can ever imagine. people trying to figure their way out from underground in the dark without electricity.
they were designed to terrorize people. you are seeing the aftermath here. we heard from our eyewitness at the airport obviously of similar panic in the aftermath there. >> the scenes that we have heard described to us are really heartbreaking. at the airport, eyewitnesses described people stepping over the shattered plates of glass. and how much the sound effects of that explosion, the ricochet of the blast. it wasn't just the blast but the glass falling in that caused a lot of injuries. and being being carried out on stretchers. they discovered they had landed in the middle of chaos. people being marshalled to points of where they could come together and conjugate and be moved out.
it is being confirmed as a first suicide bomber blast here at the airport and an exchange of gunfire. i plays so much into the divided tensions that militants and extremists feed on. so one of the first things the prime minister had to say directed as much to the belgium muslim community here as the entire country was sending them a message that this is not a moment for division. the hope is this will not be a moment of finger pointing tractor trailer community at large.
this is a moment for solidarity and unity in this dark day. what was also of note, the prime minister saying they were blind-sided. even though the foreign minister sunday was telling reporters that they were aware there was a network around saleh abdeslam. even though this information was out there and they were putting it in the public domain they clearly, alisyn, didn't expect this. >> i guess there is no mental preparation for this kind of carnage even when you know the threat level is high there. thaufrpbg for the update. we do want to go to chris now. >> all right. there will be a lot of thinking about where to go from here. this situation is still far from over. we have someone on the phone
right now. sandra, are you okay? what can you tell us? >> yes, i'm okay. i think i was in the subway right behind the one that carried the bomb. i was stuck between two stations. in order to get out. there was a lot of smoke. heard and felt the glass. we didn't see the explosion. everyone is okay. >> you say you didn't see the blast but you felt it. tell us what that means. and what was it like when you were being evacuated. >> well, we heard some noise that shouldn't be there. we saw some people open the back
door. we went to one door. everyone was organized. everything went okay. we were outside between the two stations. we had to go to the rear nearest exit. >> you had you were in between stations. so people had to make their way along the tracks. how did that go? >> yes, absolutely. they were organized pretty good and made sure no panic. so it was okay. >> we know it's still very early and authorities aren't exactly sure how many were lost and how many were injured and fighting for their lives in that situation. did you see people getting a lot of medical help on the way out? >> no. i think everyone was okay. >> the attack came at 8:00 in
the morning. this about an hour later. does that make sense of what you remember where you were? is that rush hour? >> yeah. i think it was around 9:10. so just a little bit over rush hour. >> how long did it take you to get from underground? >> all the doors were shut. i think after five or ten minutes one door was opened. we had to walk i think five minutes to the nearest exit. >> thank you very much for checking in. i'm sure you are shaken up by this. it is good to hear you are okay. the military will help you through the dark and get you back to safeguard. thank you for being with us.
>> all right. chris, we'll get back to you in a moment. this is paul foreigneer. he was at the sheraton hotel located across the street from the brussels airport. where are you right now? >> right now i'm in my hotel room in front of the airport. >> okay. where were you when you heard the explosions? >> it was ultimately my room. and i felt the ground and the windows vibrating. and then i went to the window, saw pea come running out, came downstairs and found a state of chaos. >> how quick did you see somebody on scene? >> five or ten minutes.
they acted promptly. >> people have stayed, are arriving, getting a connection. did they alert you of an evacuation plan or you were to shelter in place. >> for the first 15 minutes, because they were terrorists, i guess. after that, everyone was asked to go back in. now just said people who have a car might leave don't. but nothing sure for now. >> that they've told you that they were doing extra checks right now. what are you seeing right out your window? >> it is very difficult to see
anything now. the people in the white suit with with cameras trying to get shots of the victims. they were told to terminate the area where everything that happened. no medic or police are out. >> what is your plan at this point? >> i had been at the conference for a couple days here. we just decided to go on with the campus. i just went out to talk to you. but after that, no more heaving. >> we are always told that, to carry on. we know carrying on will be a bit of a challenge today given the fact that metro and all
other potential has been cut down. have you been ale to use the red cross check-in safety called i safe. >> actually before the red line and blue, i was able to notify my family. and i used it what happened. we would like to be able to tell everyone that everything okay. >> that is so important to be able to do. how are you feeling? >> it feels rather strange when it hapts to you.
i was there the day after the paris attacks in the hotel. sometimes it can be bad luck and can happen anywhere. you have to go on living. you just hope that frg will be fine. >> the prime minister of pell skwrupl called for unity and solidarity. and i think that you're doing the right thing by just trying to keep us positive and focused on what you need to do in your tkaeu to life hiv. your plates is to stelter that is adjacent or close to the airport? >> yeah. that's right. i'm going to get down -- the victim is behind the street.
it is still fall. we were sweeping. we have lear instructions. no one is allowed out. >> have you been questioned by any law forcement position? >> no. but there are a large number of people. >> at this point, do you feel safe where you are? >> yes. i do. >> you never know where it's going to strike. >> we are glad to hear you. we're glad to know you're okay. paul, thank you so much for joining us from your location at the hotel across from the brussels airport.
al. tkpwraoegreetings and updat. this comes from the metro. the death toll in the subway attack where we watched that dark vision, 15 killed, 55 wounded. we'll keep you updated as developments come in. this brussels terror attack comes four days after the main suspect in the paris november attacks was captured in month
molenbeemonthly e monthlien maalbeek. >> this was a victory against isis. the battle was far from over. they were very aware there were other threats. abdeslam was hiding out in a house in brussels raided by police last week. had raided that premises is, he escaped. they found detonating equipment, material. the prosecutor said he had been involved in procuring detonate equipment and chemicals. there is a connection between the involvement in the buying of chemicals. he has said on the record through his lawyer that he has cooperating with the police. that has to be a clear either
instruction or warning if he is cooperating than any plans that are out there could be thwarted. did that cell remain behind or another cell decided to act because they were afraid of respected or acted out of revenge. across europe is a major increase in the level of security around transport hubs and around airports. what we have heard from the brush authority, increasing security. the french mayor today say they have solid aeurlt with the people of belgium begin.
the swiss minister shocked. europe is on absolute alert. belgium is on the highest state of alert. additional security forces all across europe being deployed. no one is discounting at the moment there could be other attacks in the very near future here. ? nic, i want to ask not about the timing but the geography. you talked about the subsways of brussels. learned about the naked maalbeek. what we have learned it's so
insular, it is very hard for these to make any inroad with infiltrate or get information. that's where he was arrested four days ago. >> it is very difficult. it has been for some time. if they go back six, seven, eight years, i did a documentary about an al qaeda recruitment network. we went close to the station where the main international trains come into. we were surrounded by an angry crowd. the police don't go into that neighborhood because it is dangerous for them. i say go in with additional forces. parts of maalbeek has done the same thing. it is an intelligence issue eyes sis staying be hoe the radar,
below the radar of the communities they're in, the communities find hard to pen straight. what was an sham's release. but it has come as a challenge for police to get new information. >> nic robertson is, thank you. back to chris now. >> all right. as nic well knows and everyone who has been covered the attacks, monthly beck is not clear how it sets out. as nic was reporting on countries around the world, everyone is aware and everyone is playing catchup. again, 8:00 this morning local time in belgium. an attack at the airport. different sphroegszs. would have been an hour later at a metro station.
many have died. many, many more injured. many fight for their their lives. at least 26 kpeuld in all of these attacks. especially with the picture on your screen right now we were talking about dense concentrations of humanity. in the dark the chance of the metro system. they are dealing with triage, not counting. they are dealing with emergent situations. the numbers are soft. no question many have lost their lives. the question is how many? we'll find out over time. you have geographic challenges. not back in the united states. let's go to evan perez here in the u.s. about what this means
in terms of what washington, d.c. is doing. of course the president is where i am in havana, cuba. he is supposed to give a speech about the obvious human rights challenge. the u.s. doesn't have people returning to syria like they do in other places. >> chris, you're right. the numbers that the u.s. is facing is nothing like what they have hpdz of people who have gone to train and fight with terrorist groups in syria and iraq. the u.s. has a much smaller number, today what happened in pwrus ills, i talked to officials thunderstorm.
they are on board for possible cope cat attacks. they know they have dozen people around the united states they are keeping an eye on, people who are followers of isis and support isis. obviously the first suspicion of the author of these attacks in brussels is on isis. they are the biggest game in town. they are the ones most active. they are this the ones that carried out the terror attacks. we know at this hour u.s. meanwhile, they are trying to according tphaeud the response. they are going i should add there was no kaegz of any u.s. plot. the u.s. has been checking on
information that has come from the arrest of abdeslam in brussels. no reports inform anything in the n.c. they are boosting securitier in washington. we have heard the same in new york city. u.s. officials want to make shr nothing follows on what happened here in brussels. chris. >> appreciate it, 6th app. >> thanks so much for that, chris. obviously around the world are watching the situation unfold in brussels. we have peter bergen, phillip mud and counterterrorism official pool crookshanks also here. michael weiss as well.
cnn terrorism analyst, terrorism studies journal ctc, sentinel and michael weiss, author of isis inside the army of terror. >> paris attacks were planned in belgium, staged in belgium, coordinated in real-time from belgium. this was an isis cell that conjugated three safe houses across the country in the weeks before the paris attacks. the working assumption will be right now that same network behind the paris attacks is also responsible for these attacks playing out. they may not be over in brussels
he was coordinating the attacks in real-time from brussels. still at were large. his was found in the bomb factory suggesting he may have played a role. they are still trying to figure that out. he is still at large. that is very, very dangerous when you don't have the bomb maker in custody. >> i want to bring in michael weiss now. michael, let's talk about the timing of this. four days ago, abdeslam was arrested. is that a trigger for this? we are seeing 130 people injured between the airport and the subway. is this too sophisticated and coordinated an attack to have just been planned in four days? >> i don't think it was planned in four takes. it may have been triggered by this opportunistic moment of the
capture. this is terror in reserve. these agents, they plan, target, scout, construct their devices, their bombs. they look for the softest of soft targets being transport hubs, cafes, airports. the subeditors of the international news cycle. we are talking about the capture of this high-level operative. what a great coup it is for the intelligence services and all the good solid human intelligence information he's about to give up. what do they do? they bury the lead. they perpetrate an attack like this. every international newspaper, every media in the world will be focused on brussels showing the reach and the scale of devastation of which isis is still capable. it comes a week, maybe a little
more after a devastating suicide bombing in istanbul. this is their m.o. they look to bring the war that is being waged to our capital is and to our cities. it doesn't have to be sophisticated. yes, this looks like something professionally planned and coordinated. remember, the spokesman of isis, really the guy who runs their entire syria apparatus, said you don't need to use a bomb or a gun. if you find a rock, pick up the rock and small is the head. again, they don't have to have gone to syria or iraq to be
trained up. they have been radicalized or recruited on european soil. >> well, michael, as we well know, you don't have to be that integrity or well trained to strap on a bomb, walk into an airport, and explode it. their intentions are universally deadly. we're waiting, peter, to hear from french prime minister francois owe land. they have been on a high level. we know french authorities are quick to look at belgium for how well things are coordinated. seeing it as a short coming. president hollande is speaking now. let's pick it up. >> translator: but also in the light of what happened in brussels, the last attacks being
perpetrated, leading to numerous deaths and several dozens wounded. here i would like to express my solidarity, my friendship to the belgian people who are going through a hardship for families concerned saying all my thoughts are pain which is shared. terrorism has struck belgium. it was europe that was aimed a lot and the whole world which is concerned. we have to bear in mind the extent and the gravity of the terrorist threat. these attacks come following others. paris was a particular target of paris last year in january, of
november. other continents have been affected. i'm thinking of africa. but we are faced with a global threat which requires us to respond globally. france and belgium are united by the horror, that once again we have shared. i have assured the belgian government that my support will be essential to bring about the necessary means. but the war against terrorism has to be led in the whole of europe and with means yesterday in terms of intelligence and, again, we have to ensure that our decisions are effectively established, put in place. we have to act on the
international scale. that is what each one of the most aware countries must do on an international scale. we have to lead this war against terrorism with all the necessary vigilance. that is the reason why today the french government has taken measures to reinforce the provisions of border security and the presence of military in the transport infrastructures, airports, ports. but this war against terrorism has to be carried out with a cool head, with determination.
because it will be long. and we have to make the essential means available what we have been doing in france for several years with provisions that must be both effective and efficient and respect freedoms at the same time. and finally, we have to ensure more than ever of our unity and speaking about the unity on a european level. i could also speak about world unity for countries who want to act against terrorism and the most essential unity is on an international scale. everybody must be aware that during this period we have to be united in cohesion and also in solidarity. today it is with belgium. yesterday was with france.
we have to express that. we are all aware. we are all concerned at the beginning of this meeting. that's what they say. thinking about the investments for our own country, for europe. we must be with you. but on that subject also. there won't be any economic development. there won't be any sustainable development if there is no security first. and the element of security is also an element of the attractiveness it poses. and therefore we have to ensure that all means are taken here in france but more broadly in europe. i'm expressing myself on the name on behalf of france.
but you can invest with the greatest clarity in france. but with all security. thank you. i'm now going to refer to the questions that concern us. there are about 30 companies here of different gee graph cal regions. we wanted to meet at this council. this has been going on two years and every six months we meet. we meet to evaluate what we do, our commitments the french government, you as investors, and also to be able to hear a certain number of proposals and suggestions which could further improve our attractiveness. i want to show you that since we
have been listening to you a important number of measures have been taken. tax of individuals. regime of the expatriate with clarified research. tax on research which has been improved. and also the responsibility packed with the reductions in tax and charges that the company has been waiting for for a long time in order to be able to reduce those charges happening on the employee salaries themselves. as far as our procedures are concerned, this had very encouraging results. and since 2013, the number of foreign investments in france has increased in a continual way. in 2015, there were more than
1,000 foreign projects were carried out in. 34,000 jobs. that is 30% more than last year. certain investments and projects, including china. $3.5 million in france. >> all right. on your screen right now you are listening french president hollande. you hear from authorities about what has happened in brussels. they ever now placing the number of people who lost their lives, 26 people murdered in what are we being called ta attacks. one at the airport and one at a metro station. 8:00 a.m. local time. certainly rush hour on the subsway. they went into the ticket counter before security of any
type of screening. that's when the sphroezs happened at the airport. peter, we were talking before we picked up francois owe land. the president expressing unity, compassion, and sympathy but saying this is an international effort. tes what has been a mounting tension between french and belgian authorities on how to deal with this threat. i've been getting this morning. 69 westerners have gone to fight in syria and iraq. huge number from tprabs, germany, belgium, france. if you do the math and you think many, many, many, many hundreds have returned to a number of
european countries, it gets to be a large number. belgium itself has two different languages adding to the problems they have. in fairness, this is a problem which these security services are simply not equipped to deal with the number, with the volumes of people they have to follow. the problem will be persistent in aour. it is a high-level threat. the war is likely to go on many years. no end in sight. there have been efforts to reduce the flow. 5,000 names. and there are a number of cups that made it illegal to train
with a military occupation. they are not on the books a year or so ago. there has been an effort, and clearly the effort is not enough. >> we want to turn to jim acosta. there are foreign casuals killed or injured in bellup. we don't know if u.s. americans are among them? >> that's right. i suspect, michaela, we will get that information as the day goes on. the president has been apprised of what's happening right now. u.s. officials are in touch with their counterparts. that is going to continue throughout the day. we should mention that the president is expected to deliver his speech and go on with the speech, that he was preparing to
give to the cuban people today. just a couple hours from now i expect that will be advised. he will address the situation is brussels. we'll hear from the president of the united states a couple hours from now. he is taking a basketball game and going on to average tina to continue this trip. this is a constant concern over the white house. foreign fighters. it is not the same level a concern in the united states as it is back in europe. as you can already see this morning u.s. is ratcheting up, getting up on a higher state of
alert and preparing people at the university in belgium to shoelter this. we will hear from the president in a couple hours from now, alisyn. >> nem had a is outside the airport. that's where at least 26 people who have been killed lost their names. what's happening at this level there? >> well, the death toll has now risen to 11. it was 10 for belgium media. how it's reported that it's gone up to 11. expectation, it could continue to rise. amongst that 55 number injured at monthly beck, many of them are believed to be credit
condition. also hearing from belgian state immediate that the paris had been evacuate. the palace is on the outskirt of brussels. me they felt that was for the safety of the fast. >> the 11 people killed behind you, have they reached the nationalities of them yet? >> not yet. the prime minister made cheer there are multiple nationalities amongst the dead. they are working through the identification process. they have to place the injured and the dead. belgium, 120 insided tphaeujuren
to the fatalities. they have allowed people to call in is and check on their hotline. if there is anyone who is concerned about a friend or family member here brussels, going to the belgium government web sites, they can call in and try to find out what's going on. >> i want to ask you about that evacuation of the royal palace. that is outside of brussels. was that a precaution? what precipitated that. >> belgium state media reporting it was in response to a threat. i think they are all very aware of what this looks like. you have a capital city in lockdown.
a royal palace evacuated. when they are trying hard for peace, they wouldn't have taken these measures if they didn't fee it was necessary. >> that you can for all the developments. we want to go now to chris. >> all right. a lot of layers to this story. we want to stick as close as we can to what happened. we have somebody else who bore witness to the tragedy there. he was there at the airport. stuck now at the airport hours after the ta tack. where are you now? >> i was traveling from lie pwhaoer ya to new york.
7:30 my ending. they didn't know it was actually a palm blast. they thought it was an actual construction company until i saw the police with a uniform and military folks with guns. i have to go back. >> okay. we are hearing lots of reports about what happened. how are the others still in the airport with you? >> i'm fine. we are all right now in the area where the plane, we are all sitting there distributing phrapg ets, water or food as we
can. i feel a like is being tefper out on the stretcher. i don't know what's going on. people are constantly trying to keep their head down. some people are tense. we have no information when we can leave the airport. they are not providing us any insight about this being a terrorist information. >> well, as you know from the authorities themselves, they're still trying to get their hands around the situation in terms of dealing with triage. the authorities do believe this is a terror attack. they are going along the lines with it. you say they are keeping you in place for safety.
there is no word when you can leave the airport. is that right?airport. but here on the ground they are not shared any information regarding the security situation here. they have said they don't have the information and they will continue to support anyway they can in terms of us feeling as comfortable as we can at this airport. i've been through situations like this before. a bombing in new york. obviously i was raised in liberia so i've seen people go through this stuff like this but it is just that people are try to ensure they are comfortable. they are traveling many to different countries. so you have many people here who simply want to get home. >> well that's very understandable. and even with all the unfortunate connections you have had in bad situations, it's
obviously different when you are yourself living it real time. good to hear that you are okay and holding up well and patiently as you wait to get out of there. please check in with us and let us know when you are about to move on. and thank you. all right. so taa wongbe there inside the brussels airport. a lot more news for you as we cover this breaking situation. authorities are calling a terror attack. coordinated suicide attacks. two different locations. more after the break. stay with us. you. through small things. big things. and spur of the moment things. sheraton. ♪ ♪ [engine revs] ♪
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diverted there, chris. >> also remember in this fluid situation numbers are going to change. there is no question that they are still doing triage on a lot of people fighting for their lives. belgium raising terror level threats to the highest level. we have cnn's coverage live at the brussels airport. you have been on this from the beginning. this happened about 8:00 in the morning local time. an hour of that at the metro. what do we know now? >> reporter: well have a little more detail about the evacuation of the royal palace. stayed media reporting it was in response to discovery of suspicious packages. as you have said this is a very
fluid situation and they are responding as best they can. so the packages could ultimately not be a threat but of course they are not taking any chances. the royal family has now been evacuated. we've also been speaking to sources here that they are really concerned about the continual -- about the potential for that death toll to continue to climb. the sense is that there is -- that there are a number of seriously injured people within those some 120 people injured within these attacks. already within the half hour we were speaking the number went from 10 to 11. if people want to help, want to give blood they are asking people please do so. >> as hard of the pictures are at the airport behind you, there is a lot of light there. an open area easy to assess and access. the subway very different. the obstacles to entry there obvious.
dark between station, on the tracks. open power and voltage issues. we do know that military and authority first responders got there quickly but they have a lot of challenges to stabilizing that situation. what do you hear? >> reporter: exactly as you have described it. we've been getting. going through, trying to remain aware and cautious of any potential for further risk while at the same time really trying to localize the fears and the panic of people. one eye witness told us that the blast was so substantial that he felt it inside the european commission building. and of course throughout this when they hit a target as high profile and in a way as day to day so much a part of everybody's lives as the subway, then the panic becomes so entrenched i've been receiving messages from friends and colleagues and contact here
saying i won't pass this. that is where my daughter's school is nearby. and the schools, the evacuation of those schools has been a key part of this emergency response. trying to get the children out safely, without causing further panic, chris. >> and obviously we're going slow on the numbers because this triage is very active there. we heard from the prime minister earlier saying this is what we were worried about, this blind attack that they just got hit with. but the threat is very real as, you know, intelligence officials in france refer to what's going in belgium as a rat's nest of terror. what are you hearing from people about the inevitability of something like this and what may follow and what this will mean. >> well intelligence agencies across europe have always been concerned about the belgian's ability to really penetrate the abilities in which these networks are so entrenched within. and so for the belgian prime ministers to say he was
blindsided after his foreign minister said on sunday they were concerned about the potential for attack asks they believed salah abdeslam had built up a new network around him with the specific purpose of attacks. people have been treading very carefully about criticizing the belgian authorities at such a time but there is a real consternation we heard in the aftermath of the capture of salah abdeslam, that they were surprised to find him in mole booek. and given how central belgium and how connected all of europe's capital cities are to each other there is a worry about the domino effect of their inability as one source put it to get ahead of this threat.
>> there is little question that even as we heard from francois hollande of belgium. we're goings see some things change and probably soon in terms of international cooperation and let's remind everybody why. there were coordinated terror attacks in belgium this morning. that is the word from belgian authorities. here is what we understand at this time. at the airport there in brussels there were two explosions which authorities believe were coordinated suicide attacks. they happened at the ticket desk that was before the security, as we're all familiar with in most airports these days at the ticket desk when you go to check in. that is before security. that is where the explosions happened. you are looking at the result of them. windows blown out. dozens and dozens of people injured. many of them badly injured. there is still ongoing triage inside the airport. you are looking at the
subsequent evacuation. there are certainly numbers of those who lost their lives that are going to rise. what you see on the screen is what we're being told by authorities but it is not the final count. now you are looking at what happened an hour later. so this started t at 8:00 in the morning local time. about an hour later 9:00 in the morning, in a metro station, a subway, another attack in the dark between stations. again, over a dozen there killed. another active triage situation even more complicated than the first. because of the dark and the tight spaces in getting people to safety. this is what it looked like for the first responders as they got down there. it is amazing how many they evacuated and how quickly. so that is what's going on. that is why nem ma al bagger is in front of that airport. and whether are you seeing in terms of restoring order from the chaos now? >> reporter: where we are really is the staging ground for police
response. just behind me chris you can see the lined up cycle of police outriders. the forensic teams and the ambulances headed out from here. this is the other side, the backside of the airport. just in front of the airport security building. clearly there is an still an ongoing response into the airport. the forensics teams getting in early on even while the situation is being stabilized. prime minister has said that a judge has already been put in place to allow them to enact any of the powers they will need to hold any suspects. and they are looking to clean up whatever of this network remains out there. because as much as the stabilizing of the train station and the airport is important, it isn't a source of danger anymore, as far as they
understand it. the danger is who else is out there? that is their priority right now. >> a point well made. coordinated, which is the term they use, often speaks to a continuing or future threat as well. and that is what we're rear hear roogt right now. there are now secondary investigations going to do exactly as you suggest, which is to find out who else could be involved. remember the backdrop for all this, what happened in the paris attacks when then rooted to belgium in what say see is a very active layering of terror networks there. how many, how concerted they are. those are all unknowns. so what does this mean to you when you hear there is an investigation to see what "coordinated" meant in this situation? >> reporter: well the reality is that everything has been emerging in the aftermath of paris has pointed to essentially a lattice work of interconnecting networks. and even the way that salah
abdeslam eventually was captured is because he contacted someone within another network that was already on the authority's radar, that was already under surveillance. and it really gives you a sense of interlocking, interconnected cells. and that is what the authorities are dealing with now, unraveling all that. the prosecutor was talking about the reality of 216 active investigations. 216 active files. that is overwhelming for any intelligence apparatus, let alone the apparatus of a small country like belgium. so when we hear the french speak about international cooperation, that is why. because the belgiums need as much broader sport as they can get here. >> thank you for that update. we'll check back with you. now we want to get to nick robertson because the attacks come four days after the last suspect who participated in the paris attack was captured in
belgi belgium. are these connected? live in london, what are you hearing? >> reporter: it is going to be a major investigation with counterterrorism officials. it has to be. the reason is simple. abdeslam was arrested friday. saturday morning his lawyer announced publicly that he was cooperating with the police and helping them. that if not a message, a direct message to his supporters that you have a finite amount of time before you are going to be arrested as well because i'm going to give up information or was it quite simply a message you need to act now, you need to act fast. what is known about abdeslam in the recent weeks, the house he had been hiding out in until a week ago, which was raided last tuesday by belgian authorities in that premises, not just automatic weapons, but detonation equipment, for detonating things likes suicide vests that belgian authorities
said were used today. the prosecutor over the weekend laid out some evidence the french have. they say not only was abdeslam involved in the logistics but also procuring equipment, chem lsz used to make the detonators. it is not clear of his level of expertise and bomb making skills but he now seems to be directly connected with some very central part for a future plot and a past plot and also with a certain level of connection on the explosives. so is his arrest directly connected? it is certainly going to be a leading point for the investigation. and it is hard to look at this and say that these two are not connected. the attacks in the same city where he was arrested coming just days after any associate close to him would very realistically realize they have
a finite amount of time to act before they could also be arrested. >> let's bring in now peter berg bergen. and paul cruickshank. editor and chief in the ctc sentinel, terrorism studies journal. and michael weiss. cnn contributor and author of "isis:inside the army of terror." paul, much of what we understand in the intelligence community and belgium and ongoing paris attacks comes from you. unfortunately this is also your home. and i know this is a sensitive situation for you. on many different levels. what can you tell us about what is reverberating through the halls of the intelligence community there right now about what happened this morning? >> well chris, it's not a surprise to them but obvious there is a certain amount of shock in brussels right now. the terrorism has again come to brussels. we saw back in may 2014 an
attack on a jewish museum by french isis operative. four people were killed in that attack. but this is on a whole different scale. as the investigations have proceeded with the paris attacks, it's become increasingly clear that those attacks were planned from brussels, staged from brussels, that they had three safe houses there. they waited to the last 48 hours to dom paris to launch those attacks. there were ten individuals involved in paris and salah abdeslam was the only surviving individual and he was arrested on friday. but there was a larger network behind these attacks in play. many of those individuals still at large, including potentially a suspected bomb maker. gna on the night of the attacks was
helping to coordinate from brussels by home. somebody's who dna was found in the bomb factory in brussels that the group set up to build suicide vests for the attacks. and when they moved in a week on on the hiding place of salah abdeslam and other accomplices they found an isis flag a kalashnikov detonating explosive and ammunition suggesting there was another plot in the works against some kind of target in belgium, some kind of target in europe. and the working theory is going to be the remnants of that cell, who they haven't managed to arrest carried out this attack today in brussels, chris. >> peter, i want to pick up where paul left off. after the paris attacks there was this sense that it is only a matter of time before something happens in brussels. because there was so much of this spider web that led back to
brusselss and to that neighborhood of mole beck. so what has gone wrong in brussels? >> well there is no belgian dream, there is tlo french droem, there is no british dream. there is an american dream. which has worked pretty well for american muslim tourists who are well educated and average incomes just like any other american of the american dream is sort of in a firewall to a large degree to this kind of thing alisyn. whereas in belgium or france, pick your european country. if you are a the muslim citizen you are often discriminated against. take one statistic. 10% of the french population is muslim. and yet 70% of their prison population is muslim. and that statistic speaks for itself. and so, you know, as americans watch all this, they must surely be asking themselves what is the level of threat in the united states? and there is some bad news,
which is last year saw 60 cases in the united states almost entirely american citizens inspired by isis, prosecuted by the department of justice. that is the largest number of cases since 9/11. the good news is that these tend to be lone wolves. they tend to have low capacities. these are not part of organized groups as we saw in paris. which were involved at least two dozen people, many of whom were trained in syria. this is nothing like what we've seen in brussels where clearly this was an organized group that had multiple people and a support network. so the bad news in the united states is isis is radicalizing quite a number of american citizens. the good news is they tend to be lone wolves and therefore their capacities to do a complex, coordinated attack as we see today in brussels or as we saw in paris in november are really quite low. >> michael weiss, you were talking last hour with us about this idea of terror in reserve and sort of speaking off what
peter bergen was saying, this idea that operatives are driven under ground and they were concerned with that after france, after paris and now again with belgium. these operatives driven under ground and the threat of them rising and striking again. >> and there is an improv quality to this. app abaaoud, prior to that about a year before was responsible for orchestrating this plot in belgium in the city where the largest gunfight since the end of world war ii had taken place in a raid on that compound. they found a small army of -- or a small arsenal of weaponry including tatp, the closive used in the paris attacks.
gopro cameras that they were going to film their attacks with. and what i'm surprised about. salah abdeslam i figured to be in ill odor with isis. he chickened out of the paris attacks. he had a suicide vest on that he tossed in the garnl. maybe it didn't work and this is the reason they kept him active. he essentially inherited a kind of role of the chief liaison of this network and if he's been spending the last four months plotting and planning to carry out another attack then his capture may indeed have accelerated something in the works for a long time but again it is very difficult to figure where they are going to strike next because they don't always know. it's as needs meet and as the developments occur and as they are developments and safe houses are raided or rounded up. so i think we have to be a little fair to the belgian authorities.
we've been beating up on them for a while that they are incompetent and not coordinated and all at. if your city is completely checker blocked with the those -- and this is a very special problem in europe with these communities who are basically doing the work of isis on their own soil. it is almost impossible to know where the next attack is going to occur. >> well michael you make a strong point there. something that we learned the hard way spending way too much time in paris for exactly the same reason. let's take it back to paul cruickshank. again, i've stood next to you many hours with you lending understanding not just to this relationship with belgian authorities and french authorities but what's going on all over europe. and then we have what happened at this airport. we're always looking at the next application of the threat and of course in most international airports you can walk in and before you get to security do whatever you want to do around
lots of people. is that something that you can effectively change? >> well there is no doubt that isis's m.o. right now is to kill as many people as possible, target crowded spaces. airports are by nature crowded spaces. before people get through security they have to go through queues. so the message from isis high command is kill as many people as you can, chris. create as big a impact as you can. i think as -- we can expect a surge in the number of attacks. the isis message being we are remaining and we are expanding and launching attacks is a way
to change the conversation from them losing ground in syria and iraq. and also they feel that this is a divinely ordained caliphate. and they feel it is under attack by western countries. and belgium is launching air strikes against isis in iraq. so they feel need to retaliate with all means possible and their followers believe they will be rewarded in paradise by doing this. i think we're entering a very dangerous period right now. there needs to be much greater urgency from the spshl community than even there is right now. about this isis threat in syria and iraq. they are still going to be there for the foreseeable future. i don't think many people expect mosul to be liberated this year or any time since. so we are going to be living th with this threat in europe many years ahead.
and belgium really is at the eye of the storm. there are ala large number of belgian extremists who have gone to travel syria and iraq. many coming back, these are people who have experience of killing in syria and iraq. and there are a number of isis operatives right now trying to talent spot these new recruits coming in and turning them around as quickly as possible to send them back to launch attacks in europe. >> peter i want to get your thoughts on something that michael just talked about. and that is abdeslam having fallen out of favor with isis. and then there was word that he was actually cooperating since his arrest and maybe giving information. do you think that is connected to the timing that his cohorts felt uh-oh he may have given up some important information we better act now? >> common sense would suggest
yes. i mean clearly his arrest was a very big news story. whether he was cooperating or not you couldn't take the risk of not acting if you had a plan in the pipeline. so, you know, clearly this is not something the overall plot wasn't developed over the last four day. but the actual -- the cause, the occasion was something that clearly his arrest must have sped up. there is no other explanation for why it would happen now. >> peter, i'm going to stick with you for a second because i wanted to ask you about the -- we've seen so many of these attacks. we know that each time one happens counterterrorism officials reevaluate their plan, their stance, their preparedness. given what we've been watching and the fact that terror officials here were concerned about the ongoing situation in belgium, how do you think they are now going to pivot or if they will? >> well i think they should do effective will aeuropean wide 9/11 commission. these networks don't exist in one country.
they are related to each other. we've been talking throughout the morning, both in belgium and france and other european countries quite possibly. and typically european countries do not have a 9/11 commission of the kind of seriousness we had in the united states after 9/11 that british authorities did quite a weak investigation of the london attacks which was the deadliest in british history with 52 commuters killed in 2005. and honestly, i don't see anything coming out of the french after the november attacks of any kind of seriousness in terms of a public inquiry in what went wrong. and most importantly how can we improve things. and those sorts of things don't come about because you say we need to improve things. those come about because you have multi year serious public process in which you have the power to subpoena people. and you could imagine, for instance, the european parliament saying it is time to get our act together and do
something meaningful. >> especially when you think how close those buildings where to the metro station where there were many many casualties. thank you so much. we'll get to you, chris now in havana. absolutely, mick. and one of the things we have to deal with in this situation is while the urgency is playing out in brussels, it is reverberating all around europe and beyond. let's go to jim bitterman in paris. and again jim, i've leaned on you many hours to develop our understanding of what's going on, the relationship between belgium and what happened in france. very real. we are now learning more about these locations. you know, this metro station that was targeted in brussels is very near e.u. locations of operation, the u.s. embassy. so that won't avoid notice of investigators. and of course this triggering more troops to the border, a heightened security awareness and intelligence activity in
paris as well. what are you understanding? >> well exactly that chris. they are putting out 1600 more military officials and security folks at the various transportation hubs around france. but when you boil that down i mean charles de gaulle airpo that means about 150 more people. doesn't seem to be a whole lot more than what's already out there. the fact is we're under a state of emergency here which allows the police all sorts of draconian measures like stop and search without reason. like sequestering people in their houses. there is all sorts of measures they can already take and the question have they taking them? and one of the things our panel was just talking about there that's so interesting is the coordination between the various european authority. president hollande was on television just a little bit ago saying this was an attack on
belgium but really an attack on europe. and the fact it's paralyzed today that all european union offices in brussels are closed has got to be a dramatic thing for various authorities across europe to confront on a european-wide basis. we've got a commission here a parliamentary commission in france that after the november 13th attacks are starting to look at what went wrong and what the police did right and wrong but none of that has been made public yet and probably will be some months before the commission does anything that is going to be made public that we'll know about. so it is really a little too little too late as far as a lot of people are concerned especially when you see what happened this morning. the french are on edge. something like this morning's attack could very easily have happened here. the relationship between france and belgium has been rocky up until the november 13th attacks. now it seems to have gotten
better. but still a lot of irritation that more things aren't being done on a european level. one of the things the interior minister said this morning is that there should be more done on pnrs, passenger name records. that is the kind of thing that already exists in the united states but basically keeps track of whew whoa's flying, where and all the rest. and the fact can you control people arriving at airports? the interior minister also said he's going impose rules that at train stations and airports people who get access to the terminals have to have an idaho card or passport and a ticket. so that is going to change things. how they are going to impose it is a good question. >> thank you jim. alisyn to you with breaking news. new details because the u.s. intelligence community is of course talking to their
counterparts in belgium and throughout europe. evan perez is live in washington with more. what have you learned? >> one of the things investigators are looking at this point, and it is very early, but one thing is the possibility that one of these explosion at the airport was caused by a bomb packed inside a suitcase. we know from the brussels prime minister office, they said one of the explosions was caused by a suicide bomber. we still are not sure whether or not we have two attackers that carried out the attacks there at the brussels airport. we do know however that they are looking into the possibility that one of the bombs was packed inside a suitcase. and obviously every time you travel you hear all of the messages that are being broadcasted say be careful about unattended bags and certainly draw attention to unattended bags. in this case that may have been
what caused at least one of the explosions. one of the other things -- among the other things investigates are looking at is that this is possibly just an improvised attack. in other words not something as sophisticated and as coordinated as what carried out by isis operatives in november in paris. if you remember we are talking about ten attackers there in paris. in this case it appears that these attackers were looking for targets of opportunity. a large crowd at the brussels airport outside of the security cordon near the ticket counters. that is where investigators are focused right now. the second attack in brussels occurred at the transit station in maabeek in central brussels. not as sophisticated as what happened in paris. obviously these are the hardest of targets for security
officials to secure. very easy for terrorists to get into and carry out these type of attacks. >> evan thank you so much for that. obviously the attacks raising the question again about whether airports are protected enough. since the explosions in belgium were set off in the departure hall before you go through security there at the brussels airport. cnn aviation analyst for the u.s. department of transportation, we keep hearing about these targets of opportunity. the improvised nature of these attacks and that proves mary the ongoing challenge for aviation officials of protecting an airport and its passengers considering that these explosions happened outside of the security area. >> and it's ironic that belgium and it's transportation officials and authorities have cracked down on security at the new year's and even before and what they did is strengthened
security on the airside for incoming passengers and no eu credentials. they strengthened it from airside but not from the street side, the non-secure side. and what happens in europe is they keep coming back and back and back again at the transportation facilities. in rome they had several arrests in last july and again just two weeks ago for planning attacks on the train station attacks in the past have been carried out with few personnel. dual attacks in rome and vienna at the same time two decades ago and it was just seven people. it is an ongoing problem, one the united states wrestles with daily and especially after september 11, 2001, it was very difficult to secure the airports from the street side as opposed to airside. >> so we don't know the a number of attackers in this situation. we don't know but it seems as it has the hallmarks of these lone
wolf attacks we've seen in the past, mary. and you talk about that. in your estimation, is it possible? you think about the number of passengers. and the number of people that are arriving and departing at the busy airport like the one we see there in belgium or any of our big international airports around the world. the number of passenger, the number of pickups, the taxi, ubers -- all of that. it almost seems as if we cannot get our arms around it. >> well it is very difficult. particularly in the united states with 498 public passenger service airports and 16,000 overall. and this is a plan that's been grappled with the september 11, 2001 there were plans on the books to have off site passenger intake terminals where passengers bus to the airports and finally they were abandoned because they were just impossible given the number of airports and the way we have to
move people through the facilities. and so strengthening them now and what's going happen i would assume at airports all over the world has already happened all over europe. most european nations now have a crackdown security as they will use also local police authorities to check cars and purses coming into the airport which will slow the approach to the airport property dramatically but it has to be done. >> we're hearing from adam perez that the focus of the investigation or one of the many focus os it was investigation -- because there are going to be many arms to it -- was a bag potentially that there was a suitcase that may have had explosiv in it. and we've seen how these improvised ideas have been used around the world sort of testing the waters to see if they can indeed infiltrate in that way. mary are we taking headway on the screening, on getting hfd of the bad guys, if you will, in
terms of being able to detect these devices ahead of time is this. >> well sure, at the airport when the bag goes through screening it is improved leap years ahead since 2001 and it's, you know, so much better than it was at that time. but that assumes that your bag and the people have gone through security and by approaching it from the street side as opposed to airside they have escaped that. and a lot of it comes down to those warnings by airport security officials saying if you see something say something. but a bag like that left in a terminal could be very difficult to get it off of airport property where you can detonate it safely off airport property in time particularly if someone was nearby and detonating it and that is the problem once you get to the airport you are in an area of extreme vulnerability before you approach security. and remember just a few years ago we had someone with a gun of
course attack at lax on the street side. so as the huge area of vulnerability and what will probably happen is more screening as people approach the airport in their car, taxis, etc. >> and we've seen that at some airport where is they have preliminary screening and the drive up to either your departure or pick up gate. mary, our thanks for your insight. here is chris now. let's remind everybody what we are in the middle of right now. we are covering coordinated, multiple attacks in belgium. started 8:00 in the morning local time at the brussels airport. two separate explosions that authorities are now calling coordinated suicide attacks. dozens of people were killed. many, many more were injured. some of them very badly. there is still ongoing triage. and an hour after those attacks there was a separate attack in the metro. the subway in brussels located
to close to u.s. e.u. operations as well as the u.s. embassy there. that explosion may have been, according to authorities, detonated with the use of a bag or some other container. again people there over a dozen lost their lives. again a very active triage situation there. we have nem ma al bagger on the scene outside of the brussels airport reporting for us all morning. we know the response was quick but also the situation is still fluid and ongoing. >> reporter: the response is still ongoing. the operations began pretty much immediately across the city. information about any raids, they really want to try to
minimize the detail that anyone out there can use to evade capture. they believe the proliferation was part of the reason they weren't able to close in the days following the paris attacks. so since then they have been trying to really be careful what they put out there. you really reset for us what happened here but let's remind viewers what happened at that train station. the video we've been sighing is his or h horrifying. people walking through the tracks in the dark. one eye witness we spoke to who was in another carriage from another train from the locus of the explosion describes feeling a gust of wind. they actually felt the blowback from the explosion. and then they said it went dark. very emotional people coming up
through there crying. one man describes a woman weeping saying that she had seen bodies down there as she was being evacuated. the death toll in that train station attack still stands at 11. 55 injured. many critically and authorities expect the death toll to rise, chris. >> even those considered lucky in these situations have to deal with the worst often they will ever see in their lives. and again they are the lucky ones. we are hearing word though of this being coordinated. and when authorities say that. that means they don't know how many people are involved. and that leads to the information that there are ongoing secondary investigations to figure out what's going on, the learning curve after paris is that often it is not just those that detonate themselves but others who help them achieve that horrible end. >> absolutely. and they are also dealing with
the reality of how brussels has essentially become ground zero to these interlocking lattice works of radical networks. and they perhaps might not be working on all the same operations a at the same time. but there is definitely a kind of movement within the networks. so not only are you working at active investigations that you need to maintain your attention on even while looking at new files like this. like the operation that they are launching today to try and clean up what remains potentially of these networks out there. so far they have confirmed that they believe one of the explosions here at the airport was a suicide attack. it is still unclear what caused the second explosion in this attack. but they are working very hard to close in on that network. they also as we've been reporting chris, state media are reporting that they have evacuated the royal palace, the royal family because of
suspected packages. >> thank you very much. we want to go to our terrorism expert paul krocruickshank. what have you learned? >> our colleagues at the belgium public broadcast have just reported that police are in an active man hunt in brussels right now for individuals they believe are linked to today's attack. there are police patrols that have also been given information about the suspects. there is a large man hunt going on in brussels right now to try and apprehend the other members of this attack cell still at large. that indicates that belgium investigators have some sense of who is behind this. certainly that they suspect it
is a particular group of individuals. and as we all look at this i think many of us have thought likely that this is the same network carrying out this attack as carried out the attack in paris, the salah abdeslam network. when belgian police last week, exactly a week ago went into the salah abdeslam's safe house, his long-term hiding place in brussels, they found explosive detonators. they found a kalashnikov, isis flag, ammunition. all suggesting some kind of plot was in the works. they are trying to wrap up the network they believe is behind the attacks right now before they could strike again. these are very dangerous hours ahead in brussels rights now. >> paul i have a couple of more questions for you before we bring back the panel. this alert, the federal prosecutor in brussels is asking journalists not to repeat information about the investigation under way. obviously you are not doing
that. it sound as if some specific addresses or specific details they are asking the media to keep quiet on because they don't want to obscure or ruin the investigation under way. but are you hearing that it is that same neighborhood we know has been responsible and where abdeslam was captured? >> we don't know exactly where these police searches are going on but this is a huge man hunt in brussels right. now the entire security apparatus of brussels has been mobilized to catch the associates of those who just carried out the worst terrorist attack in the modern history of belgium. >> and to remind our viewers, this is where you grew up. this is your neighborhood. this is the subway stop that you took. can you tell us what this thabd like today? >> the maabeek subway is right
underneath the european union and there is a symbolic target. presumably the working theory is this is an isis terrorist attack. not a lone wolf but an isis terrorist attack. when you look at the explosives that may have been used to create that amount of power, that amount of casualty count, fatalities at the airport, at the subway stop, really looking more on isis plot. but maabeek is a metro station right in the heart of brussels, used by hundreds and hundreds of commuters. this appears to have been during a very busy part of the morning commute. time to create presumably maximum loss of life. so this is the heart of europe being targeted now by icesiisis. the heart of brussels, of belgium. also the airport a very international target. a modern airport.
just outside of brussels, so to amplify this attack in terms of its impact around the world. i can tell you, you know, i grew up in belgium. i was born there in brussels. spend a lot of time there every year. there is going to be a lot of shock today but there was resignation that this sort of thing was going to happen. because in may 2014 we saw a deadly attack on a jewish museum in brussels by a french isis recruit who had come back, probably launched the attack on his own seeing that he had come back to belgiumo launch that attack and since then there's been a steady drum beat of terror threats to belgium. we saw in january of last year a major gun and bomb plot thwarted by the same cell, essentially the same network that carried out the paris attacks in belgium. there was a big gunfight in
eastern belgium which thwarted that attack. then fast forward to the summer there was a fast speed train traveling from amsterdam through brussels on the way to paris just near the belgium french border. a gunman, al khazzani, tried to kill as many people as he could on that train but it was the heroic intervention of three americans which stopped terribly blood shed on the train that day. and the paris attacks that day. they were the work of a base in belgium and even more recently we had a maximum terror alert a week after the attacks because there was a message intercepted on a cell phone. and then just over the christmas and new year period they canceled the new year fireworks because of an isis inspired biker gang planning on caring out an attack.
this is not a surprise but it would be shocking nonetheless. >> given the fact that you have just painted a really grim picture of the situation in belgium, give us a sense of the people you talk to, the people you know there, are they living with this oppression, this fear that these strikes or an attack is imminent? or are they resolute in remaining life as usual? >> people o go on with their daily lives. some elder generations have bad memories of german occupation by the nazis during the world war ii. so the people have a lot of resilience in that country. but people are fearful as well. they -- how can you go on with your daily routine, your daily lives if you don't know if you are going to come back at the end of the day. and the belgium prime minister has really addressed this. he said this is a new reality. we are now living in europe. this is the new normal. i talked to security officials in belgium all the time. they have never been so
overstretched. they just don't have the resources that the americans or even a country like britain or france has. they have a small police service. they don't have the technical means. they are working around the clock to try and protect their own people. but the scale of the threat is just too big for them right now. that there are too many belgiums in the official count, more than 300 who have traveled to syria and iraq. half of whom have come back. the numbers may be significantly larger than that. we don't have the resources to watch all of these people around the clock, to give you some idea just to watch one or two people around the clock, you need dozens and dozens, perhaps eastbound a hundred police officers and support team. and there are dozens they need to watch. so there is a worrying time indeed. >> i want to ask about the targets today. obviously the airport. that is always a favorite target of terrorists. all sorts of people from all sorts of nationalities.
that was at 8:00 a.m. a very busy time. then an hour later the subway stop, this was during rush hour. and the location of it near the american embassy. as well as near all sort of e.u. government buildings. so terrorists choose targets of opportunity but also symbols. >> yes, also if you are mapping this out you are going to hit an airport, not just people from one country but for many countries. for isis it is bringing the war home. striking within those countries. they just killed an iranian, and an israeli and an american in istanb istanbul. god knows how many foreign nationals they have killed at the airport. striking at the sub isubway terminal right below the eu institution, who might you have gotten then? they consider this a global war. they want to turn the streets of paris, the streets of brussels
and if they had it their way the streets of washington and new york into this constant high frequency waging of opportunistic spectaculars. also small scale. gun and bomb attacks but sometimes just gun attacks. or sometimes just stabbings. paul gave you almost half a dozen operations that have been planned. some interrupted thankfully so but some of them successful basically in one country in europe in the last year and change. if you do account between 2015 and 2016, you know, turkey has sustained the worst and most number of isis-inspired attacks. and one of the things that doesn't get remarked upon enough, isis they are not particularly great at fighting in a conventional military sense. we've inflated their grandeur because of their ability in the middle east. what they are really good is trade craft. intelligence operations.
abaaoud made a point it is easy to slip these dragnets. some police stopped my car. there was an international man hunt for me in the continent. stopped my car. i gaef them a fake id and by all allah's grace i managed to deceive the infidel and get away. the other thing is they have a geopolitical savvy. this is not to give them too much credit but one of the the main planks of their propaganda and indeed their operational history is to try and drive wedge in the coalition or between the countries that are ranged in this war against them. for instance, most of the targets in turkey are kurdish. not just kurdish targets but those that are affiliated with the pkk or the kurdish workers party. which is essentially america's only ground force taking the fight to isis. and they do this because kurds
are going to direct the -- this is going to weaken nato and weaken the international resolve and this coalition essentially is going to fray and crumble. when they birthed the jordan airmen alive, there is this big king abdullah almost on the cover of esquire looking like -- as of today the jordan air force is not bombing isis at all. they dropped out of the -- >> we have peter bergen and deb feyerick here. and when when he we see something like this it reminds us of terrible things on our own soil and we know u.s. officials and specifically some of the big city officials are really taking a look at what they can be doing. what are you hearing from them. >> >> yeah. clearly they are treating this very seriously. if it happened there the concern is perhaps it can happen here. there is an access -- sorry t nypd is saying there is no nexus
they know but they are employing a lot of counterterrorism teams and heavily armed people around the city and strategic points even though there is no known threat. you have the port authority which handles airports also deploying a lot more manpower. uniformed and plain clothed officers for extra eyes and you also have extra security at penn station. very interesting. to refer to what paul said. i've been to the airport there many times and i have a cousin there and i spoke to her and asked her what was going on. she said she had a colleague traveling from paris into brussels for a meeting. another driving and they are both completely stuck. they cannot get into belgium because of what's going on. so this has clearly disrupted the entire course of the day. the security, when you walk in, it is a huge terminal and you look at a big board and you are directed to one or more departure gates where you can
check in. so it is an incredibly vulnerable area. and i've always said that. when i go through the airport with my family, i'm always like move it along. move it along. because there isn't that kind of security. once i get through the check point then i feel fine. but you really understand that depending on where they walk in, and investigators are looking at which area they targeted. there has been some discussion in the belgian media there was at area where a lot of of american airlines. so they are looking to see whether in fact they targeted a specific group of planes. but there is a lot of concern and clearly a lot of fear right now in terms of what's going on. >> let's bring peter bergen in and talk to him about it. obviously after 9/11 airline security was beefed up extraordinarily. we take our shoes off. go through locker lines but not
airport security necessarily. so there is still that soft target before you get through the magnetometers or metal detecters that is still open. >> yeah but if you want to basically close down all airport aircraft travel you would have to set up a system to go through security to even get into the airport. i don't think that's tenable. so unfortunately, you know, you can do some things like prevent people from parking cars that may have bombs outside the airport. most airports have instituted that. but we are not going to fundamentally change the way we do air travel because of the global economy would simply collapse in the absence of what is after all the bloodstream of the global economy. the idea that you would turn airports into the de facto prisons is just not feasible i don't think. >> and let's speak to the other aspect of this. the metro bombing. 15 killed. and 130 -- pardon me.
15 wounded and dozens more wounded at this station. and you can speak to the fact that that is a completely untenable soft target when you think that maybe there is a turnstile that prevents a person from not paying but that is really the only kind of security measure that a lot of these kind of subway systems and metro systems around the world are conducts. >> yeah again. when you are talking about transportation systems where millions of people are using them every day which is drew of every european city you are not going to be able to serve everybody. that said there are some intelligent camera devices increasingly being diploeployed example if somebody put a beef case down or something. so there are some sort of technical solutions to this. we have reporting that it was possible that a suitcase bomb was deployed at brussels.
there are some technical ways at getting at that issue. but you are not going to be able to search everybody who goes into an airport or train station. that is just not feasible. >> very quickly paul. >> -- the paris attacks, they have massively stepped up security there at the airport, outside the airport on the pavement, as people drop people off there are soldiers with very, very heavy automatic weapons. there are a lot of police patrols. this was a hard target. this wasn't a soft target, even though they didn't get through security, this was one of the most well-protected sites in europe. and just think about that. it appears isis got through. >> panel, thank you very much. for your expertise. great to have owi ioyou on hand.
let's go back to chris. >> more reporting about the situation. let's go to nick robertson. we're hearing authorities say they found a weapon by one of the attackers inside the airport. what do you know? >> there were reports of shots fired at the airport. during that period of confusion with the suicide bomber detonating his explosives. and what we are beginning to learn is a suitcase at the airport perhaps contained the other explosives. it is not clear the f the suicide bomber had the weapon, if the weapon was discarded by somebody else at the airport but there are reports of that gunshots fired. this would certainly fit the image of the scenario that is being built here. there are similarities here to the paris attack. there are similarities to try and strike a soft target easily and quickly. so this is beginning to fit the profile as the attentitension td
quite obviously focuses on another isis attack. we know the isis cells that have been disrupted in brussels over the past week or so that kalashnikov weapons had been found there. three police officers were injured in a raid, a fourth later on when somebody in the building opened fire with an automatic kalashnikov weapon. fired about 30 rounds. the attacker was shot dead by a police sniper at the time. but certainly the indications on this understanding is that isis does have those weapons in brussels. this begins to add more detail to that picture, chris. >> all right, nick, thank you very much. and of course you are in london which has also been responsive to this situation. they are asking for any information or video that show whose may have been involved here to be sent to them showing again how what happens in one place in europe and beyond
effects everywhere. nick robertson, thank you very much. for those of us covering on "new day" and in new york and ordinary the world we are going to continue our coverage of what happened in belgium this morning. again, dozens killed at an airport at a metro station. many, many more terribly injured. the situation still developing. cnn is going to have complete coverage that continues right after the break. stay with us. the detail on this surface book is amazing. with the tiger image, the saliva coming off and you got this turning. that's why i need this kind of resolution and computing power. being able to use a pen like this. on the screen directly with the image. it just gives me a different relationship to it. and i can't do that on my mac. this is brilliant for me. ♪ for crash survival, subaru has developed ours most revolutionary feature yet.
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good morning. thanks for joining us. i'm anderson cooper. welcome to our viewers watching around the world. right now cities around the world are on alert after terrorists strike a major european capital. brand new video just into cnn. two explosions rocking the brussels airport. we're seeing this now for the first time as you are seeing it. let's watch. at at least one of those blasts carried out by a suicide bomb ore. it all happened around 8:00 a.m. local time at the airport then just an hour later and a few myelitis away attackers targeted a subway station in the heart of the city. the mayor is about to speak at any moment. in all more than 130 people have been wounded and at least 26 people are dead. most of those deaths at the metro station has been bustled morning