Regarding attacks in Brussels and without getting much into speculations who did it and why, can we read something from the way how it was done, do you see anything new on the way how it was done? Read few comments.
Bart Schuurman, Researcher, Leiden University’s Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism in The Hague
For me the most striking aspect is the fact that the attack took place so soon after Abdeslam’s arrest in Belgium last week. Although it is unclear whether there is a connection between the two events, the timing does suggest one. The attack was clearly coordinated and the attackers clearly had ready access to weapons and explosives. This suggests that they had been planning an attack for some time and leads me to speculate that the attack’s execution was brought forward in wake of Abdeslam’s arrest. Perhaps the attackers feared that Abdeslam would provide information to the authorities that could lead to their discovery, prompting them to execute their attack as soon as possible.
Sam Mullins, Professor of Counterterrorism, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
As awful as the apparent terrorist attacks in Belgium were today, there is not anything particularly new about them, based on the initial, limited information. Public transportation, and particularly international airports and aviation, have been favored targets for terrorist attacks for many years. The apparent combination (or intended combination) of suicide bombings and firearms, as well as multiple, coordinated attacks designed to maximize casualties are also well-established tactics. It is worth noting though that there have been relatively few terrorist attacks in Europe in recent years where explosives were successfully employed (notable examples of course include Madrid, London, Oslo and Paris last year). The use of what seem like quite powerful explosive devices suggests significant training and expertise. More will become clear over time as the networks behind the attacks are inevitably tracked down and arrested; however, the security situation in Belgium (and much of Europe) remains extremely challenging.
Rem Korteweg, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Reform
It seems that there were 3 bombs at the airport, 2 of which went off, 1 did not. One of the blasts was reportedly a suicide bomber.
In the metro we don’t know whether it was a suicide bomber or a device. There are unconfirmed reports that weapons have been found at the airport. If true, (and this is a big if) and they are connected to the attack, this suggests that the attackers may have wanted to follow the bomb explosions with a shooting and cause a massacre. This is reminiscent of the Paris attacks in November, which saw a combination of bombings and shootings.
This attack had a high degree of planning and coordination. All the circumstantial evidence points to a cell connected to ISIS/ Daesh.
The question now is also whether the perpetrators – those that planted the bombs, or wanted to commit the possible shooting – are still at large.
Europol warned in January that ISIS was planning more Paris-style attacks in Europe. Assuming that this attack is over, its focus was on soft targets, i.e. unprotected places where large groups of people come together: the departure/ check-in hall at Zaventem airport does not have security checks before you go in. Police and security services have always thought the Brussels metro was a potential target, but it is very difficult to make it 100% secure.