Airport operations, public transport suspended. Large-scale security operations ongoing.

Security Heightened in Multiple Countries

  • Security heightened at transport stations across France in the wake of the suspected terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium March 22. Expect increased vigilance.
  • Security heightened across Germany following terrorist attacks in Belgium March 22. Expect increased vigilance, especially at transit hubs.
  • Security heightened in the Netherlands in aftermath of terrorist attack in Belgium March 22. Expect increased vigilance, especially at transit hubs.
  • Security forces on precautionary high alert in major US cities following terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, March 22. Expect increased vigilance.

Brussels Bombing Updated Information

UPDATE 6: Mass security response continues in Brussels, Belgium, after bombings March 22. Heightened threat level maintained. Transport operations normalizing.

This alert affects Belgium

This alert began 24 Mar 2016 05:38 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Mar 2016 23:59 GMT.

- Incident: Multiple bombings
- Location: Brussels, including Brussels' Zaventem Airport (BRU) and Maelbeek station
- Time/Date: Early March 22
- Fatalities (Injuries): 31+ (300+)

Updated Information

A massive security mobilization continues across the Brussels area following coordinated terror attacks in the Belgian capital early March 22 (map <https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?usp=sharing&mid=zjLeIoSIt60w.kk6dHtQZx204> ). The security situation remains tense, as authorities maintain a nationwide Threat Level 4 and a police manhunt for at least one at-large suspect is ongoing. However, operational disruptions, including interruptions to Brussels transportation networks, have been mostly resolved.

Major developments include the following:

- Zaventem Airport Explosions: Belgian officials have identified two suicide bombers  - Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui - who were killed after detonating their devices in the departure hall of Brussels Zaventem Airport (BRU) shortly after 0800. Reports suggest that a third, unidentified attacker failed to detonate his suitcase bomb, fled the scene, and is still at large. Police later detonated the device in a controlled explosion.

- Maelbeek Station Explosion: Police believe that a third successful suicide bomber was responsible for the blast that occurred in the Brussels metro at Maelbeek station - near the city's European Quarter - around 0900. He has been identified as Khalid El Bakraoui, the brother of Ibrahim El Bakraoui.

Security

Authorities have maintained the national threat level at 4 (very high), the highest on Belgium's 4-tier scale system. The alert level will be maintained as long as is necessary. The measure has triggered a mass police and military mobilization nationwide. Additional police and military have been deployed in Brussels near sensitive sites, including government buildings and main transit hubs. Security has also been increased around all vital installations, including airports, train stations, bus terminals, and border checkpoints across Belgium. Emergency protocols are in place to limit access to sensitive sites, including nuclear power plants.

Expect an increased security presence - including military - across Brussels and the surrounding region as authorities search for perpetrators and accomplices. Authorities will continue to raid the residences and/or hideouts of suspects during their investigation, prompting manhunts, area lockdowns, road closures, and transport disruptions. Additional police operations are most likely in the Molenbeek and Schaerbeek neighborhoods. Out of an abundance of caution, authorities will continue to respond to reports of suspicious packages by imposing security cordons, conducting evacuations, and carrying out controlled explosions in the near term.

Transport

  • Aviation: For updates regarding the status of Brussels Zaventem Airport (BRU), please see iJET Alert, "Airport Status - Brussels, Belgium".
  • Public Transportation: Brussels transport operator STIB is gradually resuming metro, bus, and tram service after service was completely suspended in the immediate aftermath of the bombings. Officials have not provided a timeline for the full resumption of public transit services.
  • Rail: Main Brussels train stations have reopened, with many SNCB rail services operating on schedule. However, significantly increased security measures at Brussels-Nord, Brussels-Central, and Brussels-Midi are leading to long lines for passengers, especially during rush hours. Services to and from BRU via Brussel-National-Luchthaven have been canceled, and are unlikely to resume until BRU reopens to commercial passenger traffic.
  • International Rail: Eurostar, Thalys, TGV, ICE, and InterCity trains are also resuming operations to and from neighboring countries. Some disruptions remain possible in the coming days as schedules normalize. Expect significantly increased security and possible delays at major international railway stations along these routes.
  • Roadways: Heightened security along major Brussels roadways - including the city's Ring Road (E19 and E40) - will likely continue to prompt traffic congestion in the region, at least until authorities lift security cordons near Brussels Zaventem. Traffic in the city's European Quarter may be intermittently restricted due to heavy security near government offices and buildings housing major international organizations. Primary highways leading out of Belgium into neighboring countries are also subject to delays, as authorities have boosted border security nationwide. Long queues of vehicles at major border crossings have been reported March 22-23, though there have been no reports that frontiers are entirely sealed to either passenger or commercial traffic. Strict border controls will probably remain in place in the near- to mid-term, as an additional 1,600 police officers have been deployed to border crossings. Expect stringent identity checks at all checkpoints. Searches of incoming and outgoing vehicles could continue to cause extensive delays.

Commercial/Public Sector Services

Government offices and international organizations based in Brussels will remain on high alert, especially after the evacuation of the European Commission offices in the Berlaymont building due to an unspecified threat.  Additional evacuations and unannounced closures of diplomatic facilities are possible in the near term.

Potential Civil Unrest

The Belgian government is observing three days of national mourning March 23-25. In additional to official memorial services to be held during this period, a significant solidarity movement has formed in Brussels and internationally, with the strongest occurring in Paris. Peaceful mass gatherings of mourners have occurred at Brussels' Place de la Bourse; similar, unofficial manifestations could occur in locations across the city. Protests and marches  are also possible in the mid- to long-term should the Belgian government enact harsh or controversial counter-terrorism policies. Given the Islamic State's (IS) claim of responsibility for the attacks, retaliatory acts against Muslim cultural centers, places of worship, or areas with large immigrant communities cannot be ruled out.

Background and Analysis

Belgian authorities are releasing little official information about the attacks or attackers. However, the evidence that has been made public by police strongly indicates the bombings were planned and executed by at least some of the same individuals allegedly belonging to a terror network involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks. It is also highly likely that the timing of the attacks was motivated in part by the March 18 arrest of wanted Paris attacker Saleh Abdeslam, possibly over fears of a disruption.

While officials have not substantiated the Islamic State's claim of responsibility, several indicators - including the TATP compound used in the Brussels bombs and the identities of the attackers - strongly suggest some level of connection between the attack and the terrorist group. The threat of IS-linked terrorism in Brussels - and other major Western European cities - remains elevated, especially given the apparent extensiveness, organization, and resiliency of the terror network involved in the March 22 attacks.

Advice

Maintain contact with your diplomatic mission. Heed the instructions of authorities. Plan accordingly for severe transport disruptions, especially in and around Brussels, through at least March 24; confirm all travel arrangements. Consider avoiding large public events until it becomes clear that no further attacks are imminent.

Resources:

Related Advice: Recognizing suspicious objects and the threat of hidden explosives while traveling.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=15267
Related Advice: General guidelines to protect yourself against terrorism.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=16992

 

This alert affects France

This alert began 22 Mar 2016 10:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Mar 2016 23:59 GMT.

- Event: Heightened security
- Location: Airports, mass transit stations, other potential targets
- Start Date: March 22

Summary

Authorities are boosting security across France March 22 in the wake of the suspected terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium. More than 1,500 additional security personnel were deployed along the border area and to airports, train stations, and other mass transit sites, likely in response to the targeting of the airport and metro stations in Brussels. Officials also said that reinforced checks are being conducted on trains arriving from Brussels.

The heightened security will likely lead to processing delays at major airports, including Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Paris Orly (ORY), Lyon (LYS), Nice (NCE) and Marseille (MRS). Similar precautions will be taken at major rail stations, including the central Gare du Nord station, as well as on international rail lines including Thalys, Eurostar, and TGV; routes through Belgium may be suspended. A security alert resulted in a brief closure of Gare du Nord the morning of March 22, but police later determined the threat was a false alarm and lifted security cordons. Any perceived threat could lead to the evacuation of facilities without warning, intensifying delays; security personnel will likely be especially vigilant in the wake of the suspected Brussels attacks.

A visibly increased security presence is also likely around other potential targets, including bridges and tunnels, major tourist venues, large commercial establishments, government buildings, French national offices, and major sporting venues. Expect numerous false alarms and hoax bomb threats.

The additional security measures are purely precautionary - there is no evidence that an attack in France is imminent or even in the planning stages.

Advice

Expect increased scrutiny and more thorough bag searches at transport hubs, on buses and trains, and near other potential targets. Allow additional time to clear security at airports. Remain calm and non-confrontational; comply with authorities' commands.

Related Advice: General guidance for short-term travelers, particularly those in high-risk countries and during times of unrest or war, to prepare for an emergency.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=31129
Related Advice: Recognizing suspicious objects and the threat of hidden explosives while traveling.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=15267
Related Advice: General guidelines to protect yourself against terrorism.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=16992
Related Advice: General guidance for persons living overseas or on extended visits, particularly in high risk destinations and during time of unrest or war.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=31127

 

This alert affects Germany

This alert began 22 Mar 2016 11:52 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Mar 2016 23:59 GMT.

- Event: Heightened security
- Location: Airports, mass transit stations, other potential targets
- Start Date: March 22

Summary

Authorities are boosting security across Germany March 22 in the wake of the terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium. Additional security personnel were deployed to airports, train stations, and other mass transit sites, likely in response to the targeting of the airport and metro stations in Brussels. Security checks have also been intensified and more patrols deployed along the country's border with Belgium in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The heightened security may lead to processing delays at major airports, including Frankfurt (FRA), Cologne (CGN), Berlin Tegel (TXL), Munich (MUC), Dusseldorf (DUS), Hamburg (HAM), and Stuttgart (STR). Similar security precautions will be taken at major rail, metro, and bus stations, as well as on international rail lines, including Deutsche Bahn; routes through Belgium have been suspended.

A visibly increased security presence is also likely around other potential targets, including bridges and tunnels, major tourist venues, large commercial establishments, government buildings, and major sporting venues. Expect numerous false alarms and hoax bomb threats. Any perceived threat could lead to the evacuation of facilities without warning, intensifying delays; security personnel will likely be especially vigilant in the wake of the suspected Brussels attacks.

The additional security measures are purely precautionary - there is no evidence that an attack in Germany is imminent or even in the planning stages.

Advice

Expect increased scrutiny and more thorough bag searches at transport hubs, on buses and trains, and near other potential targets. Allow additional time to clear security at airports. Remain calm and non-confrontational; comply with authorities' instructions.

Related Advice: General guidance for short-term travelers, particularly those in high-risk countries and during times of unrest or war, to prepare for an emergency.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=31129
Related Advice: Recognizing suspicious objects and the threat of hidden explosives while traveling.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=15267
Related Advice: General guidelines to protect yourself against terrorism.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=16992
Related Advice: General guidance for persons living overseas or on extended visits, particularly in high risk destinations and during time of unrest or war.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=31127

 

This alert affects Netherlands

This alert began 22 Mar 2016 11:26 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Mar 2016 23:59 GMT.

- Event: Heightened security
- Location: Airports, mass transit stations, other potential targets
- Start Date: March 22

Summary

Authorities are boosting security across the Netherlands March 22 in the wake of the terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium. Additional security personnel, including military police, were deployed along the border area with Belgium and to airports, train stations, and other mass transit sites, likely in response to the targeting of the airport and metro stations in Brussels.

The heightened security is producing processing delays at major airports, including Schiphol (AMS), Eindhoven (EIN), and Rotterdam (RTM). Flight delays are also possible at AMS; as Brussels Airport (BRU) has closed indefinitely, many inbound flights were or are being diverted to AMS. Similar security precautions will be taken at major rail stations, including the central stations in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht, as well as on international rail lines including Thalys, Eurostar, and NS Intercity; routes through Belgium have been suspended.

A visibly increased security presence is also likely around other potential targets, including bridges and tunnels, major tourist venues, large commercial establishments, government buildings, and major sporting venues. Expect numerous false alarms and hoax bomb threats. Any perceived threat could lead to the evacuation of facilities without warning, intensifying delays; security personnel will likely be especially vigilant in the wake of the suspected Brussels attacks.

The additional security measures are purely precautionary - there is no evidence that an attack in the Netherlands is imminent or even in the planning stages. Dutch officials said that there are no plans to raise the country's terror threat level at this time.

Advice

Expect increased scrutiny and more thorough bag searches at transport hubs, on buses and trains, and near other potential targets. Allow additional time to clear security at airports. Remain calm and non-confrontational; comply with authorities' commands.

Related Advice: General guidance for short-term travelers, particularly those in high-risk countries and during times of unrest or war, to prepare for an emergency.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=31129
Related Advice: Recognizing suspicious objects and the threat of hidden explosives while traveling.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=15267
Related Advice: General guidelines to protect yourself against terrorism.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=16992
Related Advice: General guidance for persons living overseas or on extended visits, particularly in high risk destinations and during time of unrest or war.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=31127

 

The locations affected by this alert are Georgia - Atlanta, Illinois - Chicago, Texas - Houston, California - Los Angeles, District of Columbia - Washington, DC, Colorado - Denver, Michigan - Detroit, Florida - Miami, New York - New York City, Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, California - San Francisco, Washington - Seattle, Maryland - Baltimore, Missouri - St Louis

This alert began 22 Mar 2016 12:59 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Mar 2016 23:59 GMT.

- Event: Heightened security
- Location: Airports, mass transit stations, other potential targets
- Start Date: March 22

Summary

Authorities are boosting security in major cities across the US March 22 in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, earlier in the day. Additional security personnel will likely be deployed to airports, train stations, and other mass transit sites, in response to the targeting of the airport and metro station in Brussels. The heightened security will likely lead to processing delays at major airports and mass transit systems.

A visibly increased security presence is also likely around other potential targets, including bridges and tunnels, major tourist venues, large commercial establishments, government buildings, and major sporting venues. Expect numerous false alarms and hoax bomb threats. Any perceived threat could lead to the evacuation of facilities without warning, intensifying delays; security personnel will likely be especially vigilant at this time.

Specific details have not been disclosed in most cities. However, authorities in New York City announced plans to increase the security presence at airports, mass transit stations, bridges, tunnels, and major landmarks; the response is typical of that seen after previous major terrorist attacks in Europe. Authorities in Washington, DC also plan to boost security at airports and transit stations.

The additional security measures are purely precautionary - there is no evidence that an attack in the US is imminent or even in the planning stages.

Advice

Expect increased scrutiny and more thorough bag searches at transport hubs, on buses and trains, and near other potential targets. Allow additional time to clear security at airports. Remain calm and non-confrontational; comply with authorities' instructions.

Related Advice: General guidance for short-term travelers, particularly those in high-risk countries and during times of unrest or war, to prepare for an emergency.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=31129
Related Advice: Recognizing suspicious objects and the threat of hidden explosives while traveling.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=15267
Related Advice: General guidelines to protect yourself against terrorism.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=16992
Related Advice: General guidance for persons living overseas or on extended visits, particularly in high risk destinations and during time of unrest or war.  -- https://worldcue.ijet.com/tic/DisplayIoContent.public?ioId=31127

All Resources