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Tears, cheers, free hugs at tribute to Brussels victims

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 01:35

A large crowd gathers in central Brussels to pay tribute to the victims of the deadliest attacks in Belgium's history. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Residents in the Belgian capital gathered at the city's Place de la Bourse square on Wednesday (March 23) to lay flowers and light candles for the victims of the deadly blasts that hit the capital. Among those who joined the the tribute were Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who had to deal with the aftermath of her city's deadly attacks in November last year in which 130 people were killed. Tuesday's (March 22) attacks on a city that is home to the European Union and NATO sent shockwaves across Europe and around the world, with authorities racing to review security at airports and on public transport. It also rekindled debate about lagging European security cooperation and flaws in police surveillance. On Wednesday, Belgium's chief prosecutor named two brothers as Islamic State suicide bombers who killed at least 31 people in the most deadly attacks in Brussels' history but said another key suspect was on the run. At least 31 people were killed and 271 wounded in the attacks, the prosecutor said. That toll could increase further because some of the bomb victims at Maelbeek metro station were blown to pieces and victims are hard to identify. Several survivors were still in critical condition. Among the chalk drawings and flowers, a poster read 'Stop the massacres', another 'I am Brussels' - a reference to the catch phrase 'I am Charlie' that became popular after the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year. Among the crowd, friends comforting each other, young children, several Muslims praying in the improvised shrine. The Syrian-based Islamist group claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attacks, warning of "black days" for those fighting it in Syria and Iraq. Belgian warplanes have joined the coalition in the Middle East, but Brussels has long been a hub of Islamist militants who operated elsewhere. About 300 Belgians are estimated to have fought with Islamists in Syria, making the country of 11 million the leading European exporter of foreign fighters and a focus of concern in France and other neighbors over its security capabilities.

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Tears, cheers, free hugs at tribute to Brussels victims

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 01:35