World Capitals Ramp Up Security Following Brussels Explosions

When suicide bombers attacked Brussels, capital cities around the world reacted

Armed police stand on guard at Downing Street in London. — REUTERS
Mar 22, 2016 at 2:52 PM ET

When suicide bombers attacked a Brussels airport and metro station on Tuesday morning, killing dozens of people and wounding more than 100 others, ripples were felt almost 4,000 miles away. In the hours after the explosions, capital cities across Europe and the U.S. stepped up security efforts in airports and in other major transportation hubs.

The attacks began at around 8:00 AM local time on Tuesday, when two explosions rocked Brussels Zaventem, and continued at approximately 9:00 AM at Maalbeek metro station with a third explosion. Shortly after, the airport announced it was canceling all flights, and Belgium raised its terrorism threat to the highest possible level. STIB, the city’s metro operator, also announced it was shutting down services.

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The ripples traveled fast: As the death toll jumped from one, to 13, to 26, to 31, authorities in capital cities across Europe began reacting. Paris, London, Budapest, Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin, Athens, Copenhagen, Vienna and Helsinki stepped up security presence at airports, according to reports. Extra patrols were also rolled out in other transportation hubs in many European cities, while heavier policing was announced on a broader scale in London and in Oslo, Norway’s capital.

Authorities in four major U.S. cities announced they were tightening security over fears that the three explosions which rocked the Belgian capital could be replicated elsewhere. Nearly 4,000 miles away in the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C., police were deployed to patrol the two main airports, including Reagan National Airport, the major international transport hub, including “SWAT, bomb sniffing K9’s, and a general increased police presence.”

In New York, the NYPD told NBC it intended to increase its presence at airports and train stations. Authorities in Chicago also planned to patrol major airports, transportation hubs and “other high profile locations” with uniformed and non-uniformed officers.