Prime Minister chairs COBRA meeting in response to terrorist attacks
As the world continues to recover from the latest Daesh terror attacks on European soil, Prime Minister David Cameron has held an emergency COBRA meeting as security is ramped up in the UK.
Thirty-one people died and 260 others were injured, after two blasts rocked the Belgian capital on the morning of Tuesday 22nd March.
Twin blasts hit the city’s Zaventem airport at about 7am before another explosion was seen at the Maelbeek metro station, near EU headquarters, an hour later.
Four Britons were killed and another remains missing.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister has chaired a further COBRA meeting this morning on the Brussels attacks.
“We are concerned about one missing British national and we are in close contact with the Belgian authorities. We are aware of four British nationals who were injured in the attacks – three are being treated in hospital, one has already been discharged.
“Our embassy staff are working to assist all British nationals affected.
“In terms of travel advice, we continue to advise people to follow the advice of the Belgian authorities.
“Therefore we are no longer advising against travel to Brussels. British nationals in Belgium should remain alert and vigilant, stay away from crowded places, and follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities.
“Here in the UK, we stepped up the security presence at a number of locations across the country yesterday and we will maintain this in the coming days. The national threat level remains at ‘severe’ (an attack is highly likely) and the public are advised to be ‘alert but not alarmed’.”
Two of the men who carried out suicide attacks have been named as brothers, Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui, whilst terror group, Daesh, has claimed it was behind the bombings.
Home Secretary Theresa May says the UK and its allies must now work with ‘greater urgency and joint resolve’ to defeat terrorism.
She told MPs Britain must do more to support ‘vulnerable’ countries and to counter the ‘poisonous and repugnant’ ideology of Daesh.
Speaking from Westminster, Keighley and Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins said: “I share the sense of outrage and horror following the heinous acts of terrorism in Brussels.
“On behalf of the people of Keighley and Ilkley, I wish to express sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives and absolute support for the many who have been injured.
“The evil individuals behind these cowardly attacks want to destroy our way of life. But they have underestimated us and will not prevail.”
Earlier, Lord Reid, who was Labour home secretary until shortly before the 7th July 2005 bombings in London, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme a terror attack in the UK like that in Brussels was inevitable.
“Politicians ought to be honest with the British people and tell them, ‘this will happen’,” he said. “It will happen here because the terrorists only have to get through once.”