Last week, I wrote about the myriad instabilities in the Middle East and North Africa, from the civil war in Yemen to the bombings in Turkey and the ongoing disaster in Syria. What I didn’t touch on, however, is how these instabilities are reverberating on the European continent. Sadly, this week another tremor was felt. Today, during the morning commute, terrorists bombed a train station and the airport in Brussels. So far, more than 30 are reported dead and more than 150 injured.
These attacks come five months after the Paris attacks that shocked the world and took the lives of 130 men and women. These terrorists had pledged their allegiance to ISIS and were carrying out what they believed to be holy jihad. Although most of the perpetrators were killed during the attacks or in the days after in a suburb of Paris, one man eluded the police. That man, Salah Abdeslam, was captured on Friday after a months-long manhunt.
The city has been on high alert since his arrest. They knew Abdeslam had a large network in Brussels, and that he had been planning more attacks. They feared his network of operatives would lash out. They also discovered detonators in a safe house last week before his arrest. Presumably, today’s bombings in Brussel were a reaction to Abdeslam’s apprehension, either out of concern that he would talk or that the police would soon be on to them, too.