At least 34 people were killed and hundreds wounded in three back-to-back bombings in the city of Brussels on Tuesday morning.
Chris Burns is a CNN reporter currently based in Brussels and he joined CJME’s MainStreet program on Tuesday afternoon.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but before this week, Burns said there was a sense of security in Brussels and the European Union that an attack like this wouldn’t happen there.
“We had seen police and troops patrolling for the last few months – especially since November, the November Paris attacks – but of course now it has really come home. It is beyond just security measures, there are people who have died here today, and hundreds injured, and that is really going to bring home that sense of fear,” Burns explained.
This particular attack, actually hit very close to home for Burns on a personal level. He said one of the attacks happened to be on the same metro train that he normally takes to work every day.
“Where that blast went off, in that particular train at the end of the metro train, the last train in the back is the one I always take, is the one that I always take,” he said.
“The fact that that happened in that very train is absolutely chilling,” Burns explained. “I would be dead now if I had taken that as I quite often do – this morning at 9:00.”
The attacks come just days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, who is considered the prime suspect in the Paris attacks.
Burns said the Prime Minister of Belgium said on Friday that there could be more arrests and quite possibly more attacks of this nature.
The CNN reporter added that the EU released a rare statement about the attacks describing it as an “attack on our open and democratic society”. He expects to see more debate in the coming months within the EU on tougher security measures and powers of investigation to track down people suspected of terror attacks across Europe.