The Last Terrorist Attack In Belgium

by April Siese

Two explosions at Brussels Airport and another detonation at the Maelbeek subway station have claimed the lives of dozens and injured even more on Tuesday morning. ISIS has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks and the capital city has been put on lockdown. Belgium's terror threat level has been raised to its highest and countries around the world are raising security measures in the face of this tragedy. Sadly, the country is no stranger to such incidents. In fact, the last terrorist attack in Belgium took place mere miles from Maelbeek Station a little under two years ago.

The incident occurred at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, which houses Jewish art and includes a vast series of libraries celebrating Jewish culture. On May 24, 2014, a gunman reportedly opened fire at the institution. He killed a museum volunteer and two tourists on vacation from Tel Aviv. Another person who worked at the museum's PR department was shot and injured and later died from his wounds. Just one week later, a suspect was in custody and had reportedly confessed to the crime. Following interrogation, the suspect was charged with terrorism-related murder. The museum stayed closed for four months, reopening on the European Day of Jewish Culture. Plaques bearing victims' names now adorn the entrance hall of the building.


Though the attack occurred just two years prior to the events unfolding on Tuesday, its roots sadly appear to be linked to the same terrorist organization. Speaking with BBC News about the Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting, security correspondent Frank Gardner had this to say about the suspect's alleged terrorist ties:

[He] was radicalized in prison but it is his Syria connection that will most concern governments in Europe. He is believed to have spent most of [2013] there. At the time of his arrest, authorities say he had a machine gun wrapped in the flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, [ISIS] a group so extreme with its beheadings and crucifixions that it has even been disowned by al Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan.

A French Twitter account reportedly linked to ISIS issued a series of tweets threatening additional attacks following the Brussels Airport and Maelbeek Station explosions. The incident comes mere days following the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the last suspect to be apprehended for the Paris terrorist attacks. The November attack claimed the lives of 130 people and injured countless more.