Russia, Moscow: After deadly attacks on Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system, authorities in Europe and across the world tightened security at airports, railway stations, government buildings and other key sites. Claiming responsibility for the attacks, the Islamic State said its members detonated suicide vests both at the airport and in the subway, where many passengers fled to safety down dark tunnels filled with hazy smoke from the explosion in a train pulling away from the platform.
With Brussels on lockdown and the French prime minister saying that Europe is “at war,” European leaders held emergency security meetings and deployed more police, explosives experts, sniffer dogs and plainclothes officers, with some warning against travel to Belgium. The nervousness was felt far and wide. In New York City, authorities deployed additional counter-terrorism units to crowded areas and transit locations. After a string of extremist attacks targeting the heart of Europe over the past year, some analysts say Europe will finally have to implement a much tougher level of security not only at airports, but also at “soft targets” like shopping malls, the kind that Israelis have been living with for years.
“The threat we are facing in Europe is about the same as what Israel faces,” said Olivier Guitta, the managing director of GlobalStrat, an international security consultancy. “We have entered an era in which we are going to have to change our way of life and take security very seriously.” Strong criticism of Belgian security came on Tuesday from Pini Schiff, a former security director at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, which is considered among the most secure in the world. After Palestinian attacks on Israeli planes and travellers in the 1970s, Israeli officials put in place several layers of security at that airport in Tel Aviv, meaning an attacker who escapes notice at one level of security would likely be captured by another.