Travellers in Europe advised to remain vigilant
After two explosions went off at Brussels Airport, at least one of which was caused by a suicide bomber, the U.S. Embassy in Italy issued a travel warning for American citizens abroad. The explosions killed about 10 people.
Nearly an hour later, another explosion occurred at Maelbeek subway station in Brussels. This attack killed almost 20 people.
The terrorist group ISIL has claimed responsibility for the attacks and called Belgium “a country participating in the coalition against the Islamic State” in a bulletin they released.
A message from the U.S. Embassy in Italy warned citizens to stay vigilant in using public transportation and visiting crowded places, as well as paying attention to local news and authorities.
The notice from the Embassy also urges travelers to contact their families and prepare for additional security.
“European governments continue to guard against terrorist attacks and conduct raids to disrupt plots,” the Embassy wrote in its alert. “We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats.”
The Embassy’s travel alert will expire on June 20, 2016.
Aside from those planning to travel to Europe, USF World and Education Abroad sent out a letter to those USF students currently in Europe. The letter informed students the office was monitoring the situation and any disruptions it may have caused.
Because of the attacks, transportation in Brussels, as well as in the rest of Europe, and to some extent in the U.S., was either delayed or completely halted. This included air travel, train services, like Eurostar and Thalys, and the Brussels Metro system.
The threat level in Belgium reached Level 4 after the attacks, meaning the country has increased security and boarder patrol. The French-Belgian border closed down and other border closures were warned of in the letter sent out by USF.
“We ask that you remain vigilant, be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to local authorities,” USF World said in the letter. “Follow the directions of your local hosts and monitor local news reports.
“Please check in with your family and friends here in the U.S. to let them know you are safe and aware of ongoing events.”
The letter urged students abroad to call the International Assistance Line with any concerns.