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Belgian Officials And Residents Reflect On Tuesday's Terrorist Attacks


The details are what make you sense what it's like to be in Brussels right now, like the woman who was completely unsurprised by yesterday's attack or the woman who works for NATO, which is supposed to secure Europe. They are some of the people we're about to meet.


They're living in a city where police are still hunting for suspects. Belgian authorities say three men captured on a security camera carried out the deadly attack at the airport. And one of them remains at large. A fourth man blew himself up at a metro station. And amid all of this, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley has been on the streets in Brussels.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Borka Petrova takes shelter from the drizzle under an awning as she waits for a colleague to pick her up for work. Most of Brussels' public transport is still shut down after a bomb went off in the city's metro yesterday. Petrova is Bulgarian. She works for NATO, one of many international organizations headquartered in the city. She says Belgians have been hit in the gut.

BORKA PETROVA: The feeling is that they are in shock, yes. They are sad. They are suffering for what has happened. So I have this feeling.

BEARDSLEY: Petrova says it's the same feeling she had after terrorists struck Paris just four months ago, killing more than a hundred people. The last known suspect of those attacks was arrested here in Brussels last Friday. But Brussels resident Margarite Kaimakloti says that arrest brought no relief.

MARGARITE KAIMAKLOTI: No, that's the thing that we were sure that there would be something like revenge. We knew that something was coming. We - that's exactly what we were discussing, that we didn't feel at all relieved.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing in Flemish).

BEARDSLEY: Belgians are trying to comfort each other. Hundreds of people have been coming out to a plaza in the center of Brussels that's become a memorial. People link arms and sing. They write messages of solidarity in chalk on the sidewalk.



BEARDSLEY: King Philippe, who rarely speaks in public, addressed the nation. He said Belgians would respond to the terror threat with calm and dignity, and remain confident in each other. That confidence, he said, is our force. The headline of Belgium's main newspaper told countrymen to tenir bon, to stand firm. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Brussels. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.
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