Hun­ton for sus­pects in Brus­sels at­tacks

Ter­ror chief: Sev­eral peo­ple who may be linked to atroc­i­ties are still on loose

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By 7DAYS News Team @7DAYSUAE

Au­thor­i­ties were last night con­tin­u­ing to search for a man pic­tured at Brus­sels air­port with two ap­par­ent sui­cide bombers, amid grow­ing sug­ges­tions that Tues­day’s bomb­ings in the Bel­gian cap­i­tal were the work of the same ISIS cell that at­tacked Paris last year.

Sev­eral peo­ple who may be linked to the Brus­sels at­tacks were still on the loose and the coun­try’s threat alert re­mained at its high­est level, mean­ing there was dan­ger of an im­mi­nent at­tack, said Paul van Tigchelt, head of Bel­gium’s ter­ror­ism threat body.

The at­tacks on Zaven­tem air­port and a metro sta­tion in the city killed 34 peo­ple, in­clud­ing three sui­cide bombers, and in­jured 270 oth­ers.

Bel­gium be­gan three days of mourn­ing and held a mo­ment of si­lence to hon­our the dead - de­fi­ance mixed with anx­i­ety that oth­ers in­volved in the at­tacks could still be at large.

Bel­gian fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor Fred­eric van Leeuw iden­ti­fied two of the at­tack­ers as brothers - Ibrahim Al Bakraoui, a sui­cide bomber at the air­port, and Khalid Al Bakraoui, who tar­geted the metro.

French Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls, who was due to visit Brus­sels last night, said: “It’s a war that ter­ror­ism has de­clared not only on France and on Europe, but on the world.” He urged tougher con­trols of the EU’s ex­ter­nal bor­ders.

Valls added: “We must be able to face the ex­ten­sion of rad­i­cal Is­lamism... that per­verts our youth.”

The rain has washed away the de­fi­ant chalk slo­gans from the square in front of Brus­sels’ stock ex­change, the bar­ri­ers are gone from many sub­way sta­tions and trams are back run­ning in the streets.

Europe’s cap­i­tal re­turned to work yes­ter­day but it isn’t busi­ness as usual.

A pla­toon of sol­diers is stand­ing guard out­side the city’s cen­tral train sta­tion.

There’s only a trickle of tourists flow­ing through the gothic Grand Place and gar­den­ers at Brus­sels’ 18th­cen­tury Waran­de­park are check­ing each rub­bish bin ex­tra care­fully.

De­fi­ance and fear min­gled in res­i­dents’ minds, as the city came to terms with the vi­o­lence that they had long ex­pected but had hoped wouldn’t come.

Dirk Ver­straeten, 53, who was catch­ing a bus to work, said: “You can’t pro­tect your­self against ter­ror­ism. Are you go­ing to stay at home to­day? To­mor­row? The day af­ter to­mor­row? Life must go on.”

Jean and Anne-Marie Ma­terielle were one of only two dozen or so tourists ad­mir­ing the gilded gothic fa­cades of the Grand Place. The pair from cen­tral France ar­rived on Tues­day, get­ting to the Molen­beek neigh­bour­hood only hours af­ter the three bombs went off in the Brus­sels air­port and metro sta­tion.

Both said they’d got­ten an ear­ful from a busi­ness­man who was dev­as­tated that his neigh­bour­hood -a favoured lo­cale for sev­eral of those who at­tacked Paris on Novem­ber 13 - was once again at the cen­tre of world at­ten­tion.

“He wasn’t Jean said.

The mood on the street was jit­tery. Sev­eral metro sta­tions were still closed, roads were snarled with traf­fic. Sirens re­peat­edly wailed.

Jog­gers ran loops and dog walk­ers chat­ted in the Waran­de­park, across from the coun­try’s par­lia­ment. But the gar­den­ers on duty said the at­mos­phere was dif­fer­ent.


Jean-Marie Vre­bos, a 58-year-old clean­ing the park’s play­ground, said: “We should pun­ish those who com­mit ter­ror­ism. We don’t de­serve ter­ror. We should pun­ish them, GRAB them” - he yanked a piece of trash off the ground with a clasper - “and bring them to jus­tice.”

Thou­sands of Bel­gians and oth­ers came to a down­town square for a vigil, draw­ing mes­sages of love and de­fi­ance in chalk on the pave­ment amid flut­ter­ing can­dles.

Loic Wiard stood silently at the vigil, his arms crossed as the Bel­gian na­tional an­them played on his smart­phone and a Bel­gian flag draped across his square shoul­ders.

SYM­PA­THY: A woman and two chil­dren at­tend a vigil in Brus­sels and, in­set, Bel­gian stu­dent Laura Van Poucke takes part in a can­dle-light­ing cer­e­mony in Que­zon City in the Philip­pines

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