As I woke up this morning, I saw a text from my friend telling me about the most recent deadly attack ISIS has inflicted on the world. Naturally, I was immediately drawn to the TV and saw the stunning images of the destruction caused at the airport and metro station within Belgium; needless to say I was speechless. Mainstream news sources have reported various death tolls, but 34 casualties is the number mainly being used along with approximately 230 people reportedly wounded following the second large scale terrorist attack that ISIS has conducted in Europe within the past four months. Of course, the previous attack was located in Paris where 130 people were killed, a number immensely larger than the 34 reported deaths in the Belgium attacks.
Just 4 days ago, Belgian police apprehended Salah Abdeslam, one of the masterminds in the Paris attacks. It is likely the detention of Abdeslam resulted in a new sense of urgency for the terrorist group to strike. Belgian authorities were supposedly aware of an upcoming attack within the small European country, but the attack could not be prevented in time as almost simultaneous attacks occurred at the airport and subsequently a Brussels metro station. Ironically enough, the metro station was located in the suburb of Molenbeek, which is the area that Abdeslam was arrested in. US officials have said the same terrorist cell that Abdeslam is affiliated with, the one that conducted the Paris attacks, are responsible for the latest ISIS-claimed attack. Video footage from inside the airport reveals the alleged culprits; two of whom are likely the suicide bombers that detonated their vests as they entered the airport, while the other man shown in the photo is believed to be still at large. The two men that detonated their suicide vests seem to have only one glove on their hand, something mainstream news sources have said could be used to conceal a bomb detonator (See image above). A massive manhunt is underway to find the man that never detonated a suicide vest and Belgian authorities are conducting numerous raids across Belgium in hopes of finding the man. These attacks have further expressed the terrorist group’s ability to hit “soft” targets along with showing they are indeed an international threat that cannot be taken lightly. The international response needs to be strong if the rest of the world is going to show they are ready to root out terrorist cells within Europe and across the world; the time for taking ISIS lightly is over: European countries with the help of the USA must do something.
The fact that Belgian authorities knew an attack was coming from Abdeslam’s terrorist cell asserts that there needs to be better coordination between law enforcement across Europe; however, the attack also shows how good the militant group is at what they do. This group is not Al-Qaeda nor is it Hezbollah or Al-Shabaab; ISIS is the worst and most brutal terrorist group the modern world has ever known. They clearly are not messing around, so the rest of the world that intends to stop them should not be neither. The ISIS-affiliated terrorist cell out of Belgium is larger than anyone ever predicted, showing the world they do not just have a strong presence in Middle Eastern countries like Syria and Iraq. Addressing the issue of destroying ISIS is a complex obstacle, one that does not have a concrete answer, but the US and all countries involved in the coalition against ISIS need to work together. Does this mean a full scale invasion to destroy ISIS wherever they have a strong presence? I am not sure since I do not find invading a foreign country as the best answer to combat an international terrorist organization; although, it is becoming extremely hard to not entertain the idea.
We will update this story as I am sure there will be new developments in the upcoming days.
Contributed by R.A.