Brussels: A Vulnerability Exploited

It is an horrific attack and the death toll is still mounting.  As always with terrorist attacks, the damage is not just the terrible loss of human life and people seriously injured but also the disruption of air and train transport, of business and diplomacy—the EU in Brussels had to cancel external appointments on Tuesday—of tourism, and the costs and uncertainties of getting the security response right.

My first reflection is that there is not the same sense of shock as was felt after the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 or the Paris attacks last autumn. This time, we were almost expecting it. Saleh Abdeslam was arrested on Friday and the alleged bomb maker is said to still be on the run.  Meanwhile, a Belgian prosecutor says that we still don’t fully understand who organized the Paris attacks, and Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon warned only yesterday that the arrest of Abdeslam could push another cell into action.

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