The three nail bombs triggered by ISIL’s suicide bombers at Brussels airport and a Metro station on March 22 killed 32 innocent people and part-paralysed the Belgian capital in the deadliest terrorist incident in Belgian history.
It’s still quiet there. Booked, before the bombings, to make press visits to two hotels there two weeks afterwards we decided to go anyway, show some solidarity and be as careful as most people moving around Brussels are now being, staying away where possible from crowded places and keeping public transport trips to a minimum. In the event it was actually reassuring to see armed soldiers on street corners and to have our bag searched and body wiped down with a metal detector before being allowed into a shopping centre. And we have to admit to a guilty pride, stupid possibly, in not cancelling anything we’d agreed to do because of sick acts of terrorism.
However tourists, who don’t need to be there, are understandably staying away in droves. No insurer will currently cover loss, injury or death resulting from terrorism. So hotels there talk about 20% occupancy and bargains for those who still want to come, especially in the low season of July and August.
According to CNN, since June 2014 ISIL have carried out or inspired more than 70 terrorist attacks in 20 countries outside Syria and Iraq, killing at least 1,200 people and injuring more than 1,700 in countries including the USA, Australia, Canada, France, Denmark, Russia, Egypt, Tunisia, Kuwait, Turkey, Lebanon, Libya and Saudi Arabia. And since the Brussels bombings on March 22 ISIL have killed 26 and injured “dozens” with three suicide car bombings targeting military checkpoints in Yemen, and killed 32 and injured 78 with another suicide bombing at a football stadium in Iraq.
They haven’t hit the UK yet.