One year after ISIS assault, Brussels remains under terror alert

Illustration by Matt Marek for POLITICO

Belgium is marking the first anniversary of the suicide bomb attacks on the Brussels airport and underground system, which killed 32 people.

Some 300 people were injured in the attacks, which the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) claimed responsibility for.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were joined by Prime Minister Charles Michel and hundreds of others at the Zaventem airport in the capital, where two suicide bombers killed 16 people when they blew themselves up in a busy departure hall a year ago.

Commemorations are also taking place at the Maelbeek subway station, where 16 people were killed, and at a new memorial to be officially unveiled in the Belgian capital's European quarter. "Today we remember the victims of the attacks".

Belgium continues to be on high alert for threats following the 2016 incident, which is regarded as the country's worst ever terror attack. "We all remain united". At 9:11 a.m., the exact time of the explosion, all employees of the Brussels transport network held a "moment of noise", applauding in memory of the victims of the attacks.

At the metro station, King Philippe laid a second wreath in front of a wall covered in messages to those who were killed.

The arrest of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam in a police raid in Molenbeek four days before the Brussels attacks is said to have panicked the rest of the cell into targeting the airport and metro, according to investigators. Three marches by Brussels residents will then meet at the Place de La Bourse which was transformed into an impromptu, flower-strewn memorial after the attacks a year ago.

"Above all, let us dare to be tender", he said. Victims and their families have also complained about the difficulties of getting compensation from Belgian authorities. A third man, suspected accomplice Mohamed Abrini, is awaiting trial.

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