National Security

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Flickr Photo by Luc ​Mercelis​​​

terrorist Attacks in Brussels Leave Numerous Dead, Cause City Shut Down

what we know

  • ​Three explosions--two at an airport and one at a subway station--killed 31 people and wounded 300 others on Tuesday.
  • ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings, and three suspects were photographed by airport security cameras. Two of them were identified as brothers Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, 29, and Khalid el-Bakraoui, 27.​
  • ​Anyone with information on the attacks has been asked to call investigators at 0800 30 300. ​
  • The Belgian Crisis Center has created a phone number for people outside the country to find out information about their loved ones. To request information, call 327-815-1771.

Signing off for the night

UPDATE 5:10 p.m. ET, March 24, 2016

​We will be taking a break from live updates this evening. For updates on breaking news, follow us on Twitter at @SecMgmtMag​ or visit The New York Times live blog.​​​

belgium lowers threat level 

UPDATE 3:00 p.m. ET, March 24, 2016

​Belgium lowered its security threat level from a maximum level 4 to a 3 late this afternoon. This means that a possible and probable threat is high, but no longer very serious and imminent.​

The military will maintain a visible presence on roads, railway stations, and the subway, but there will be less searches of bags at the entrance to railway stations and subways, according to the Benelux Chapter of ASIS International.

The lowered threat level will also encourage more shops to open and all offices, even those near the European Union zone, will discontinue telework.

Brussels airport to remain closed until sunday

UPDATE 2:04 p.m. ET, March 24, 2016

The Brussels Airport will remain closed with no passenger flights in or out of the airport until Sunday, March 27, according to a tweet posted to its Twitter account.

​While passenger flights in and out of the airport are suspended, it has begun a return operation for passengers who left their luggage at the airport on March 22--the day of the bombings.

Currently, passengers can retrieve hand luggage and checked-in luggage from certain aircraft that were on the tarmac at the moment of the bombings. 

For information on how to claim luggage left at the airport, visit the Brussels Airport website portal here.​

​​​ASIs international expresses support for belgium

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. ET, March 24, 2016

Following this week's tragic events in Brussels, ASIS International released the following message of support for the people of Belgium and an update on its plans for its upcoming ASIS 15th European Security Conference & Exhibition in London.

Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Belgium and everyone affected by the recent terror attacks. We are thankful that our Brussels staff are safe.

Now more than ever, the sharing of security knowledge and best practices is needed—and the ASIS 15th European Security Conference & Exhibition, 6-8 April in London, UK, will be a key platform for delivering the education, insights and access to technology necessary to mitigate the terrorist threat.

The security of the event and its attendees is of utmost concern to us and in the days and weeks ahead we will continue to gather information about the threat level, assess and monitor the situation. ASIS Europe 2016 attendees should know that in addition to our regular comprehensive security plan, we are in routine contact with our security advisors in the UK, counterterrorism authorities, local law enforcement, as well as the venue’s security team to ensure all necessary precautions are taken. 

Please continue to visit this
website daily for new information. If you wish to contact us directly, please reach us at [email protected] or +32 2 318 5751.

FBI director: Brussels attack could deter isis recruitment

UPDATE 12:19 p.m. ET, March 24, 2016

The Brussels attacks may have a reverse effect on ISIS recruitment, said FBI Director James Comey in an appearance this morning. 

"When people​ see images of men, women, and children slaughtered around the world, it reinforces that the Islamic State is not engaged in some heroic battle," Comey explained. This realization, Comey added, could result in a decrease in the number of people traveling from the United States to the Middle East to join ISIS.

Comey made an appearance this morning with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to announce charges against Iranian hackers for attacks against the U.S. financial sector.

During their statement, Comey reiterated that there are currently no connections between the Brussels attacks and attackers and the United States. But that it's "something we're looking at very, very closely, though," Comey added.

"Any time there's a terrorist attack overseas, we immediately focus on two things in the states: are there any connections to the United States? And are there any risks to any of our subjects in the United States to see it as a copycat opportunity?"

Currently, Comey said the FBI has not seen those connections but is continuing to monitor the situation.

prime minister rejects belgium ministers'​ resignations

UPDATE 12:00 p.m. ET, March 24, 2016

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon and Justice Minister Koen Geens offered to resign their posts, but Prime Minister Charles Michel declined their offers. 

Michel asked Jambon to stay on as "in time of war, you cannot leave the field," Jambon said, according to Reuters.​​

Belgian authorities are facing questions after Turkey announced yesterday that it expelled Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, one of the suicide bombers, and warned Belgium that he was a militant. 

"You can ask how it came about that someone was let out so early and that we missed the chance to seize him when he was in Turkey," Jambon said in an interview about his offer to resign. "In the circumstances, it was right to take political responsibility."

​​​​today in brussels

​​UPDATE 10:13 a.m. ET, March 24, 2016

What's it like on the ground in Brussels today? Public life was expected to resume as much as possible, according to a debriefing by the Benelux Chapter of ASIS International that was shared with Security Management.

There was no lockdown in Brussels today with schools open and trains, trams, and buses resuming some service. However, there are security checks for all modes of transportation and some subway stations will remain closed. 

The police and military troops are continuing to check luggage of travelers on the subway in Brussels. This has caused some of the time tables to be changed, and access to the underground system will only be available until 7 p.m. local time tonight.

The Brussels Airport is still closed and is expected to remain closed through tomorrow. One sign of progress, however, is that all emergency accommodations at the airport have now been closed as a solution was found to accommodate​ and transport stranded travelers, the chapter said. 

The airport is open for the movement of air cargo. But cargo that's scheduled to be shipped on passenger aircraft should find alternative routes to Brussels, the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) shared with the chapter.​ 

Shops in Belgium are open, but for the first time in history many are operating with security checkpoints at shop entrances with pat downs and luggage searches. One retailer doing this is IKEA, which already has the practice in place for its locations in Paris, according to the chapter.

Tightened border controls are still in place along the Belgian, Dutch, and French borders, and traffic jams are expected during peak commuting hours. 

The chapter is recommending that people avoid public transportation modes and instead attempt to carpool through Monday, March 28, if traveling in Brussels. 

Looking into next week, Monday will be a bank holiday for Belgium and schools will be closed from March 26 until April 10 for the holiday season.


UPDATE 5:18 p.m. ET, March 23, 2016

We will be taking a break from live updates this evening. For updates on breaking news, follow us on Twitter at @SecMgmtMag or visit The New York Times live blog.​

ap: isis trains 400 fighters to target europe

UPDATE 5:10 p.m. ET

​ISIS has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris "with orders to choose the time, place, and method for maximum carnage," the Associated Press (AP) reports. ​

Officials--ranging from European and Iraqi intelligence officials to a French lawmaker--who spoke to the AP described camps in Syria, Iraq, and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are being trained to attack the West. 

"The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe, even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq," according to the AP.

​​​​​​​​​state department issues travel alert
UPDATE 4:00 p.m. ET

The U.S. State Department issued a Europe Travel Alert​, urging U.S. citizens to "exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation" as terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants​, and transportation.

"Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places," said the alert, which expires June 20, 2016. "Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events."

The alert also recommends that U.S. citizens traveling abroad should:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  • Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

​​mourners gather in brussels

UPDATE 3:40 p.m. ET

Tributes continue to pour in from across the globe and Brussels itself as mourners observe three days of national mourning in Belgium.

​​The Belgian Crisis Center has designated the military hospital in Neder-Over-Heembeek (NOH) as the central place to support families of victims of yesterday's attacks. 

"The concerned parties are invited to visit the NOH hospital where they will be greeted by representatives from medical, police, and defense, and the competent judicial authorities," the center said in a statement on its website.​​

​transportation problems persist in brussels

UPDATE 2:57 p.m. ET

​Transportation in and out of Brussels remains a problem today with no flights in or out of Brussels Airport today, tomorrow, or Friday. 

"Because the forensic investigation is still underway, we currently have no access to the building," the airport said in a statement posted to its website. "Until we can assess the damage, it remains unclear when we can resume operations. 

Railway stations are open and operating in the city, but there are very long delays to enter stations, according to a debriefing on a bridge call between the Benelux Chapter and France Chapter of ASIS International that was shared with Security Management. 

Travelers can expect delays on trains from Brussels because at the entrance and exit of railway stations there are checkpoints​ to check luggage.

Police and deployed military troops are also checking luggage on Brussels' subway system lines that are operating. Currently, Metro line 2 (Simonis-Elisabeth) and Metro line 6 (Koning Boudewijn-Weststation) and the system between those two lines are closed. Instead, busses are operating to transport individuals in this area for the time being.

​​secretary kerry to visit brussels

UPDATE 2:00 p.m. ET

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Brussels on Friday to express condolences for the victims killed in yesterday's attacks.

​While in Brussels, Kerry will also meet with Belgian and European Union officials, according to a tweet by State Department Spokesperson John Kirby.

​​​Kerry is currently in Moscow for meetings with Russian leaders on Syria and Ukraine.

​​​Obama says defeating islamic state is top priority

UPDATE 1:57 p.m. ET

President Barack Obama's top priority is to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), he said in a statement today. 

"My top priority is to defeat ISIL and to eliminate the scourge of this barbaric terrorism​ that's been taking place around the world," Obama said in an appearance with Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

"There's no more important item on my agenda than going after them and defeating them. the issue is, how do we do it in an intelligent way?" Obama asked, explaining that the United States will continue to adjust it's approach of air strikes and attacks on ISIL's leaders, infrastructure, and financial support.​

"We are going to continue to press on them until we've driven them out of their strongholds and until they're destroyed," Obama said.

​​attackers may have displayed tell-tale indicators

UPDATE 11:28 a.m. ET

The attackers in yesterday's bombings at Brussels Airport may have been displaying tell-tale indicators (TTI) that could have warned of a potential attack, according to ASERO Worldwide. 

For instance, one of the suspects in the attack was wearing a hat and sunglasses, which may suggest he was attempting to hide his appearance as he is not suspected to have been a suicide bomber.

"It is important to note that an attempt to cover ones face or appearance, including a hat or sunglasses, may be a tell-tale indicator that can be detected by professionally trained security personnel," ASERO explained in analysis shared with Security Management. 

ASERO is a team of international security experts that provides advice to governments and businesses on how ​to mitigate their security risks in the wake of increased terrorist activities at home and around the world.

The two suspected suicide bombers in the airport attack were also only wearing gloves on their left hands, which ASERO said could be considered an irregular or TTI.

"Once additional CCTV video footage is made available to the public, it may be possible to identify further indicators relating to the suspects' behavior," ASERO added. "Identification of TTIs is an invaluable early detection tool of potential malicious intent."

In response to the Brussels attacks, ASERO recommends that security forces be trained in detecting irregular appearance, behavior, documentation, and other indicators that may point to malicious intent. 

"These skills will help to not only create deterrence​ and possible identification of a threat prior to initiation, but can also detect pre-attack reconnaissance activities," ASERO said.

TTI detection can be carried out by all on-hand airport personnel--both security and non-security employees. 

"While only some workers will deal directly with passengers, all have some level of interaction with the passengers as they pass through airport areas and terminals, enabling them to detect behavioral anomalies, irregularity of appearance, and other suspicious indicators," ASERO explained. "Effectively utilizing all available personnel from both the security and non-security communities not only acts as a force multiplier by adding eyes on the ground, but also improves overall security by incorporating those workers into the people screening process directly.

For more on TTIs and how they can be detected, read our December 2015 cover story on identifying suicide bombers.

​​UK enhances security posture

UPDATE 11:00 a.m. ET

​The United Kingdom is beefing-up its security posture in response to the Brussels attacks, according to information forwarded to Security Management by ASIS International staff in Brussels.

In London, the Metropolitan Police Service has mobilized additional officers to carry out highly visible patrols at locations around the capital, including the transportation network, according to a Counter Terrorism Protective Security Update sent as part of the UK's Cross-Sector Safety and Security Communications.

"The number of officers deployed will be regularly assessed," the update explained. "These additional officers are deployed as part of reassurance measures. As ever, our security measures will be constantly reviewed."

UK police and security and intelligence services are also working in close liaison​ with Belgium authorities to monitor the situation in Brussels. UK police have asked any UK nationals or media in Brussels that may have footage of the incidents to come forward and assist in the investigation.

"Police in the UK have activated an online platform where images and videos can be uploaded, which could provide important information for the investigating authorities," the update explained.

These images can be uploaded to the platform by visiting this link: www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk.​

​belgian prosecutor confirms attackers identities

UPDATE 10:40 a.m. ET

Belgian federal prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw released new details on the Brussels attacks in a press conference today. You can watch the press conference, in full, in this video by RT. However, Van Leeuw's remarks are in French and Dutch.​

A translation of the key facts​ by The New York Times into English confirms that the first explosion yesterday occurred at Row 11 of the Brussels Airport departure hall at 7:58 a.m. The second explosion occurred 9 seconds later in Row 2.

Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, identified by his fingerprints, carried out one of the airport explosions and is the middle person in an image of three suspects taken from surveillance video at the airport.

​​In that photo, the suspect wearing white was carrying a bag with explosives. That device, however, was not ​detonated and was later handled by a bomb-disposal crew.

A taxi driver tipped off the police, who later raided a home on 4, rue Max Roos, in the Schaerbeek neighborhood of Brussels. Police found 15 kilograms of the explosive material TATP, 150 liters of acetone, 30 liters of hydrogen peroxide, detonators, a suitcase full of nails and screws, and other materials. They also found, in a trash can on the same street, a computer with Ibrahim el-Bakraoui's will on it.

Van Leeuw also confirmed that as a subway train was leaving Maelbeek station, a bomb went off in a second car. Khalid el-Bakraoui, who was identified by fingerprints, set off the bomb.

​​on the ground in brussels

UPDATE 10:20 a.m. ET

What's the scene like on the ground in Brussels today? The Benelux Chapter of ASIS International shared information on its latest debriefing call with Security Management early this morning to give us an idea.

The Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (CUTA) has left Belgium's threat level at 4--the highest level--which means there is evidence of a new attack. New anti-terror measures, however, have not immediately been issued.

Instead, the chapter said military presence at public roads and railway stations has increased. Belgium is also strengthening border controls with neighboring countries. The borders are open, "but you will be confronted with ID control and LONG delays!!!" the chapter emphasized.

Additionally, the Belgian postal system is not delivering letters or parcel through air via the Belgian Post Office (BPOST) as the Brussels Airport remains closed. 

And for the workforce, companies can currently invoke temporary unemployment for "force majeure,"​ the chapter said. This can be invoked if the execution of a work contract is impossible. 

Under temporary unemployment, employees are entitled to if they're cohabitating with dependents a minimum of 44.25 euros and a maximum of 62.44 euros, living alone a minimum of 37.39 euros and a maximum of 62.44 euros, and cohabitating a minimum of 28.04 euros and a maximum of 62.44 euros.

​​brussels attacker was wanted by interpol

UPDATE 10:10 a.m. ET

​One of the Brussels attackers--Khalid el-Bakraoui--was wanted by INTERPOL prior to yesterday's attacks. 

INTERPOL issued a red alert​ for Khalid el-Bakraoui in August 2015, which said he was wanted by the judicial authorities of Belgium on terrorism charges. The alert also said that he was born on January 12, 1989, spoke French and Arabic, and had dual Belgian and Bahamian nationality. 

​​brothers identified as brussels attackers

UPDATE 10:00 a.m. ET

​Authorities have identified two of the Brussels attackers as brothers with criminal records. Khalid el-Bakraoui, 27, and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, 30, have been sought by police since a March 15 raid on an apartment in the Forest district of Brussels. 

Ibrahim el-Bakraoui and another man blew themselves up at the Brussels Airport in two separate explosions. Khalid el-Bakraoui then carried out the suicide attack at the Maelbeek subway station approximately an hour later. 

A third attack suspect has not been publicly identified and remains at larger with a warrant out for his arrest. 

Authorities are searching for him, and Belgian news outlets reported that a police operation was underway in the anderlecht neighborhood of Brussels today. An arrest had been made, but the person's identity was not released.​​

​​signing off for the night

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. ET, March 22, 2016

We will be taking a break from live updates this evening. For updates on breaking news, follow us on Twitter at @SecMgmtMag, visit the AP's live blog on the situation in Brussels, or The New York Times.

​transportation hubs may be at risk for similar attacks

UPDATE 5:00 p.m. ET

Locations where different modes of transportation all come together may be at risk for a similar attack as to those seen in Brussels, says a risk preparedness and security expert.

Mike Payne, organizational resilience manager for risk management firm iJET International, spoke with Security Management this afternoon about who might be at risk for an attack like today's in Brussels and what can be done to mitigate the threat.

Those at risk include "larger targets where different transportation systems tend to merge, creating a watering hole, if you will, for predatory aspects," Payne explains, such as airports and mass transit systems. 

Organizations tend to respond to this risk with a surge effort--deploying more security officers. But this can create its own problems, such as bottlenecks, which come with their own security risks of longer exposure periods for travelers to possible attacks.

To mitigate this threat, Payne recommends taking proactive measures to reduce exposure times. 

For example, when traveling to the airport Payne says use Pre-Check options, only take carry-on luggage so you can skip the check-in counter, or even consider sending baggage ahead to the airport so you don't have to drag it through the airport, slowing down your progress.

And given the current shelter-in-place recommendations for individuals in Brussels, Payne says travelers should plan to have sufficient quantities of water, food, and first aid to allow them to stay in place for up to 24 hours. 

"Here in the States, many people are prepared. But when they travel, they don't take or gather sufficient quantities of water, food, or first aid to take with them," Payne adds. "Given the events in Paris and Brussels and the shelter-in-place advisories, having that travel go-bag is important."

​​king philippe addresses Belgium

UPDATE 4:50 p.m. ET

​In a rare broadcast to the nation, King Philippe of Belgium addressed today's bombings and the state of the nation.

​​"Mathilde [the queen] and I share your sorrow, you who have lost a loved one or who have been injured by the cowardly and odious attacks of today," the king said. "We express our full support for members of the emergency services and security services, and our gratitude to those who are spontaneously offering help. In the face of the threat, we will continue to respond together with firmness, calm, and dignity. Let us keep confidence in ourselves--confidence is our strength."

​​brussels airport to remain closed

UPDATE 4:45 p.m. ET

Brussels Airport will be closed tomorrow and other modes of transportation will be limited in the city, according to a conference call debriefing provided to Security Management by the Benelux Chapter of ASIS International.

Along with the airport closure, the chapter expects underground traffic in the city to be difficult tomorrow and for Thalys--a high-speed rail service--to resume some of its services. 

Eurostar, however, is expected to run its full service tomorrow. It's advised passengers to check its website​ and Twitter for updates before traveling.

​​DHS secretary: no credible threat to u.s. homeland

UPDATE ​4:30 p.m. ET

There is no specific, credible intelligence of any plot to conduct similar attacks to the ones in Brussels in the United States, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take steps to enhance its security posture.

​​In a statement this afternoon, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said he remains focused on the threat posed by lone terrorist actors who may lack direct connection to a foreign terrorist organization in light of the Brussels attacks. 

"We are concerned​ that such radicalized individuals or small groups could carry out an attack in the Homeland with little warning," he explained. "We also remain very engaged in the effort to identify and disrupt foreign terrorist fighters who may seek to travel to or from the United States."

In direct response to the Brussels attacks, DHS is working with authorities in the city to monitor the situation. The department is receiving information about the attacks and those who may have been involved, Johnson added.

"Since the Paris attacks in November, we have enhanced information sharing about potential terrorist threats with both Belgian and French authorities, and we will continue this effort," he explained.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will also--as a precautionary measure--deploy additional security to major U.S. airports and rail and transit stations around the country. TSA will work with state and local law enforcement, airport and transit authorities, and the aviation industry to augment that security, Johnson said.

While Belgian citizens are not required to have a visa to travel to the United States for business or tourism, TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have procedures in place to identify and prevent travel by individuals from Belgian who are considered suspicious. 

"All travelers arriving in the United States are vetted against the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database, regardless of whether they arrive with a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorization," Johnson said. "We continually evaluate whether more screening is necessary, particularly in light of today's attacks."

Additionally, DHS and the FBI are sharing information about what they know about the situation in Brussels with state and local law enforcement. 

"State and local law enforcement are themselves enhancing their security posture as they deem appropriate," he explained. "We are also in regular communication with organizations representing the private sector to share with them what we know."

​​starbucks closes all belgian locations

UPDATE 3:40 p.m. ET

​A Starbucks employee sustained minor injuries in today's attack on the Brussels Airport, prompting the chain to close all of its stores in Belgium until further notice.

"Amidst reports of attacks targeting Brussels Airport and a metro station, initial indications are that an explosion took place outside our store within the airport," Starbucks said in a statement on its website. ​"While one partner (employee) sustained minor injuries, we can confirm that all our partners are safe and have been accounted for."

​​UK urges citizens not to travel to brussels

UPDATE 3:20 p.m. ET

​The United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Office is encouraging British citizens not to travel to Brussels following today's terrorist attacks. 

In a travel advisory posted to its website, the Foreign Office explained that "the Belgian authorities are currently advising against travel to Brussels; you are advised to follow the instructions of the Belgian security authorities."

​​The advisory is an unprecedented step as the Foreign Office did not discourage citizens from visiting Paris following the November terrorist attacks​ that killed 130 people.

​​Americans injured in brussels attacks

UPDATE 3:10 p.m. ET

U.S. State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said that a number of Americans were injured in today's attacks, but he could not confirm how many. 

​​"We do not know of any U.S. deaths at this point. But I would note that it is still early on, and the situation is, understandably, still fluid and still uncertain," he said.

​​​​Kirby reiterated the U.S. State Department's message that U.S. citizens in Brussels should shelter in place--if possible--and monitor the media for updates on the situation.​

​​belgium raises threat level

UPDATE 2:40 p.m. ET

Belgium raised its threat level to a 4 for the entire country following this morning's attacks at the Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station. 

The Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis raised the threat level, which means a variety of security measures have been introduced. These include strengthening border controls, restrictions on public transportation, and strengthening the military presence at certain sites.

"Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families, as well as those people who have not heard from their loved ones," said Prime Minister Charles Michel in a statement about the threat level increase. "In these difficult circumstances, I am appealing for citizens to remain calm and united."

​​ASERO: brussels a strategic target for terrorism

UPDATE 1:40 p.m. ET

Brussels is a strategic target for terrorism given its role of hosting major European institutions and as the capital of Europe, according to new analysis from ASERO Worldwide. 

"The symbolic nature of the attack is also seen as a victory, boosting morale as [the terrorists] were able to shut down an entire airport and public transportation in Brussels, and furthermore abrupt aviation and public transportation in the rest of Europe," ASERO explains in report made available to Security Management. "This can be further used to enhance the [terrorists'] recruitment capabilities and to encourage copycat attacks."

ASERO is a team of international security experts that provides advice to governments and businesses on how ​to mitigate their security risks in the wake of increased terrorist activities at home and around the world.

With the rise of the ISIS threat to Western Europe, combined with the influx of legal and illegal immigrants arriving mainly from Syria, ASERO says it does not see a reduction of this type of threat in the near future. 

"Therefore, the security apparatuses should prepare for additional attacks in the coming months and years targeting strategic sites in Western cities," it adds. 

In the aftermath of the Brussels attacks, ASERO recommends incorporating additional layers of security into public areas of airports and mass transit systems. These layers can include both active and passive measures that utilize trained manpower and technology.

"The objective of layered security is to identify and mitigate potential threats at the earliest possible point," ASERO explains. "Even if an attacker is able to successfully carry out an attack upon detection, it will be possible to minimize the number of casualties or damage by neutralizing the threat as far away from the desired, crowded target."

Trained security officers can look for tell-tale indicators (TTIs), which would-be suicide bombers and other attackers frequently display. Organizations can also deploy trained responders at potentially high-risk and attractive targets that have the ability to quickly respond and manage relevant threat and emergency scenarios.

Additionally, ASERO recommends that international airports carry out immediate risk assessments to identify threats, vulnerabilities, and risks. They should then allocate adequate resources toward protecting targets, creating deterrence​, and mitigating attacks.

"Updated risk assessments should be site specific, taking into consideration such factors as the attractiveness of the target, current threat levels, the ease of adversary operation, and the operational characteristics of the target," ASERO explains. "It is essential that the recommendations derived from risk assessments are given special priority and implemented accordingly in light of the current increased threat level."

For more on TTIs, read our December 2015 cover story on detecting suicide bombers. 

For more on crisis and continuity planning, read our March 2016 story on planning after Paris.

​suspects identified in brussels airport bombings

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. ET

​A spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor's office confirmed with The New York Times that the three men in the photo below are suspects in the Brussels' airport bombings. 

​Brussels police released a second photo of the man on the right on Twitter, asking for the public's help in identifying him. 

​Anyone with information on the individual or the Brussels' attacks has been asked to call investigators at 0800 30 300. 

​EU pledges full cooperation with belgian authorities

UPDATE 1:21 p.m. ET

European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker released a statement, asking Europe to stand united in the face of terrorism and for full cooperation with Belgian authorities. 

"I would like to reassure the employees of the commission and the European Institutions​ that their security remains a priority for me and that all possible measures will be taken in full cooperation with the Belgian authorities," he said. "These attacks have hit Brussels today, Paris yesterday--but it is Europe as a whole that has been targeted. The European Union and its institutions stand united in the face of terrorism."

"These events have affected us, but they have not made us afraid," he added. "We will continue our work, to face the terrorist threat together, and to bring European solutions to questions that concern us all."

​asis makes resources available for security professionals

UPDATE 12:48 p.m. ET

​Following the attacks in Brussels, ASIS International has made two resources available for free to assist security professionals. 

The first is a guide on protecting soft targets, which was released after the November terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, Egypt, Beirut, Baghdad, and Paris. It provides details from security professionals charged with protecting VIPs, congregations, students, audiences, fans, and shoppers daily. 

"Their combined experiences form a primer for security staffs and employees on how to stay vigilant when faced with crowds and international threats," according to ASIS.

The society has also made its spotlight resource on social media monitoring​ available to the public. The resource shares views on how experts envision "the past, present, and future of security's use and monitoring of social media."

​​Obama pledges u.s. support to belgium

UPDATE 12:34 p.m. ET

President Barack Obama made a statement in Cuba this morning, pledging U.S. support to Belgium after speaking with homeland security advisors. 

"The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium. We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people," Obama said. "We will do whatever is necessary to help Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible."​

​​ASERO: belgium is historical hub of jihadist radicalization

UPDATE 12:24 p.m. ET

Belgium is a historical hub of jihadist radicalization and recruitment, according to analysis from ASERO Worldwide shared with ASIS International and Security Management. 

Belgium was the first country to experience an attack by a returning jihadi from the war in Syria when Mehdi Nemmouche killed four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in 2014.

Most recently, the perpetrators of the November 13 Paris attacks originated from Molenbeek, Brussels, where they were able to plan the attacks and operate without detection, ASERO says.

Belgium is also the home country for the first known female suicide bomber, Muriel Degauque, who targeted Western troops in Iraq in 2005. ​

"Since then, the country has proven to be a significant provider of jihadists to Syria, representing the highest numbers of foreign fighters per capita since the Civil War began five years ago," ASERO explains. 

ASERO is a team of international security experts that provides advice to governments and businesses on how to mitigate their security risks in the wake of increased terrorist activities at home and around the world.

​​ISIS claims responsibility for brussels attacks

UPDATE 12:10 p.m. ET 

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement released by the group's official Telegram channel and distributed across ISIS channels on Twitter. 

"Islamic State fighters carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices on Tuesday, targeting an airport and a central metro station in the center of the Belgian capital Brussels, a country participating in the coalition against the Islamic State," the statement, obtained by the Times, says. "Islamic State fighters opened fire inside the Zaventem airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek metro station."​

​​terrorist attacks in brussels leave numerous dead

UPDATE 8:45 a.m. ET

Deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels have killed at least 34 people, causing the city to shut down as authorities urged people to shelter in place.

Two explosions at the departure hall in Brussels Airport killed 13 people and a third explosion, in the city’s subway system, killed another 15, The New York Times reports. At least one of the airport explosions is said to have been caused by a suicide bomber. Early estimates from various news agencies said many more were wounded--including 92 people at the airport and 106 at the subway station.

Prime Minister Charles Michel is asking citizens to “avoid all movement” today as the authorities brace for possible further attacks. All public transportation in Brussels has also been shut down, and the Belgian Crisis Centre is urging individuals to “stay where you are,” Reuters reports.

The attacks have also impacted travel in and out of Belgium itself, with flights canceled for the day; Eurostar shutting down service between Brussels, Paris, and London; and Thayls—a high-speed train service—suspending service between cities in Belgium, France, Germany, and The Netherlands.

France has also ordered 1,600 police officers to patrol its borders, including at train stations, airports, and ports, according to the Times.

The attacks began at approximately 8 a.m. local time when two explosions occurred at the Brussels Airport seven miles northeast of Brussels' city center. 

Those explosions were followed by a bombing at 9:11 a.m., which tore through the last car of a subway train as it pulled out of Maalbeek station, said Francois Ledune, a spokeswoman for the Brussels transit​ agency, who spoke to the Times.

The subway bombing took place near European Union (EU) Commission facilities, and all EU institutions have been placed on an Orange alert level in response. This means that all meetings on premises and outside are cancelled, and only staff with badges will be allowed to enter.

"We stand together, united against terror and in full solidarity with the people of Brussels," said EU Chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas during the midday press briefing on Tuesday. 

The attacks come just days after authorities captured Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people in November. 

“We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened,” Michel said at a news conference.

Michel also later condemned the attacks in a message on Twitter, tweeting "our thoughts go out to the victims and their families. We stand united against terrorism."

​​​​The U.S. Embassy in Brussels has also released a security message for U.S. citizens, recommending they shelter in place and avoid all public transportation. 

The message urged citizens to "be aware of local events, follow local authority instructions, monitor local media for further developments, and take the appropriate steps to bolster your personal security."

The situation in Brussels is ongoing. Security Management will continue to update this post as more information becomes available.