Early Wednesday morning, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a security alert issued by the US Embassy in Brussels, Belgium warning of the threat of an imminent terror attack targeting metro trains in Brussels.
The embassy warned that local police have heightened security and urged US citizens to avoid crowds, to keep a low profile, to be aware of their surroundings, and to use caution when traveling in and around the city.
According to the Brussels Times, police and security service operations in the Belgian capital, as well as the US Embassy warning message, were in response to multiple emails sent to the European Commission threatening "major terrorist attacks on EU territory" in general, and an attack on the Brussels metro on March 8th in particular. Those messages were written in Russian.
Following a major security sweep and stepped-up patrols, a spokesman for Belgium's National Crisis Center said various law enforcement elements had assessed "an attack is unlikely," though law enforcement will remain vigilant.
Readers are reminded that on March 22, 2016, two coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels were carried out by the Islamic State. Initially, two suicide bombers detonated their devices at Brussels Airport in Zaventem. Approximately one hour later, after the surge of emergency responders and law enforcement reach the airport, a third suicide bomber cooked off in the middle carriage of a three-car train at the Maalbeek metro station in east Brussels. In total, 35 people were killed and more than 300 injured between the two attack sites.
Readers are also reminded that Belgium has been under a State Dept Level 2 travel advisory since October 2022 warning that terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in the country. According to the advisory, terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting, music, and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
Caution and vigilance are urged.
Church Attack in Hamburg
On Thursday, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a mass shooting incident that had just unfolded within a church in Hamburg, Germany that left seven dead and another 25 injured.
In this incident, an individual identified only by the first name and last initial Philip "F", fired shots through a window of the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in the Gros Borstel area of north Hamburg before entering the multi-story building where dozens of members had gathered.
British media report the gunman fired more than 100 rounds using a legally owned 9mm semi-auto handgun before turning the weapon on himself when police arrived. Nine empty 15-round mags were recovered at the scene, as well as well as an additional 20, all fully loaded.
The suspect is reported to have been a former member of the congregation but left 18 months ago.
Hamburg Police say there is no reliable information on the motive for the attack.
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment around the clock and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.