PM Rutte: Brussels an attack on our way of life

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Mark Rutte (Photo: Nick van Ormondt/Wikimedia Commons). (Mark Rutte (Photo: Nick van Ormondt/Wikimedia Commons))

Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the terrorist attacks in Brussels an "attack on our way of life" during a press conference on Tuesday.  "Wavering before this kind of violence must never be an option. We remain an open and democratic society that can to be ruled by fear." he said, ANP reports.

According to Belgian media outlet De Redactie, 20 people were killed in the explosion at Maalbeek metro station and 14 people in the explosions at the Zaventem airport. The number of wounded is up to 100. "Brussels was hit in the heart, Belgium was hit in the heart, Europe was hit in the heart", Rutte said.

While there is no evidence or indications of an imminent terrorist attack in the Netherlands, extra vigilance is called for,  Rutte said. "The threat level remains substantial."

Security services in the Netherlands are taking additional visible and invisible measures as a precaution. There will be extra patrols and checks on stations in Arnhem, Breda and Roosendaal, which border with Belgium. The Koninklijke Marechaussee, a police force working as a branch of the military, will also perform extra patrols at Schiphol, Rotterdam and Eindhoven airports. The Marechaussee is responsible for airport security. If the security services deem it necessary, even more security measures will be taken.

So far nothing is known about whether any Dutch people fell victim to the terrorist attacks.

Frans Timmermans, former Dutch Foreign Minister and currently vice president of the European Commission, called it a "jet black and heavy day" for Brussels. "There is a lot that can be said about this, but at this moment my thoughts are with all the victims and their loved ones, who face so much suffering. I see around me that everyone is seeking contact with loved ones and friends to make sure that they are safe, to give each other courage and to show that we will cope with this threat shoulder to shoulder."

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