At least 34 people were killed and nearly 200 injured as terrorists inflicted a new outrage on a European capital yesterday, drawing condemnation from political leaders across the world including in Gibraltar.
Coordinated bomb attacks on the main airport and Metro system in Brussels left a major city in lockdown once again less than five months after Paris was hit by a wave of deadly strikes.
The attacks prompted a Europe-wide review of security measures and Gibraltar was no exception.
The Gibraltar Security Council reviewed the threat assessment here and is expected to issue a statement later today.
In the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s attacks, the Gibraltar Government confirmed that all staff at its Brussels office were safe and accounted for.
“This is another appalling and shocking attack on Europe, on our freedom and our liberty,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
“The government empathises strongly with the people of Belgium who are having to go through this dreadful incident today.”
Mr Picardo yesterday sent a letter of condolence on behalf of the people of Gibraltar to the Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel.
In the letter, the Chief Minister describes the attacks as ‘senseless murders’ and recalled that, like Gibraltar, Belgium is also a multi-faith and multicultural society of which to be proud.
“Our thoughts and sympathy are with you and all the Belgian nation in the aftermath of this assault on the culture, values, and way of life that we all hold dear,” he wrote.
“Belgium, like Gibraltar, is a multi-faith and multicultural society to be proud of. As an attack on the very heart of the European Union we are deeply affected by these tragic events.”
“Gibraltar, its People and Government, stand with you in unity and solidarity at this painful time,” he wrote to Mr Michel.
“Our staff at the Gibraltar Office in Square Ambiorix are safe but were deeply affected by the incident and also share in the sincere condolences of our people.”
The Belgian flag will fly from No 6 Convent Place at half-mast alongside the Gibraltar flag and the Union Jack today, and Moorish Castle will be lit in the Belgian colours.
Flags on all Government buildings will also fly at half-mast in tribute and in respect for the victims.
The GSD Opposition also joined the chorus of condemnation.
In a statement, the Opposition said the party was ‘shocked and saddened’ with the atrocities in Brussels.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their friends and families, emergency services, Prime Minister Charles Michel and his Cabinet,” said Leader of the Opposition Daniel Feetham.
“We also wish to extend our solidarity to those representing Gibraltar in our Brussels office for whom this will be a very difficult time.”
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