Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed in a news conference with the Belgian prime minister today that Americans died in Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said he and Kerry sat down “to discuss the fight against terrorism, how it’s possible to do better, how it’s possible to work together in order to be more efficient.”
“It’s also important to look at this issue on the local level, and I can say Belgium is trying to do our best efforts in order to play a positive role, in order to have a stronger Europe in the fight against terrorism, in the fight against radicalism,” he said.
Michel then expressed “condolence for the American victims.”
“We know that we are facing a situation with more than 14 nationalities,” he added.
Kerry told Michel that “the United States, I want you to know, is praying and grieving with you for the loved ones of those who have been very cruelly taken from us, including Americans, and for the many who were injured in these despicable attacks.”
“Daesh has claimed responsibilities for these attacks. But there is not a government on Earth that supports the terrorists of Daesh — not one. In fact, a coalition of 66 nations, including Belgium, stands united against them. And the very reason that Daesh is resorting to actions outside of the Middle East is that its fantasy of a caliphate is collapsing before their eyes; its territory is shrinking every day; its leaders are being decimated; its revenue sources are dwindling; and its fighters are fleeing,” Kerry said.
“…No act of terror can undermine the foundation of our friendship or the values that define our alliance: our fundamental openness, tolerance, and diversity; our pursuit of justice; our dedication to preserving the blessings of freedom for ourselves, our children, and generations to come.”
The State Department said at least two Americans are among the dead, but has not identified them.
Relatives of siblings Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski said Thursday they believe the New York residents are not among the survivors. State Department sources told Fox that the Americans confirmed killed are in addition to these siblings.
Kerry told CNN in an interview aired this morning that “there are strands of intelligence here and there” about potential future attacks, “which we wouldn’t talk about publicly anyway at this point.”
“Law enforcement and intelligence community, people have to get it right to prevent an attack. Every minute of every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 day a year,” Kerry said. “If somebody wakes up one morning in their apartment and decides they want to go out and kill themselves and take some people with them, they can most likely find a place on a subway, on a bus, in a market somewhere to do it, unfortunately. So it is a very, you know, this is a difficult challenge, and frankly, it’s quite remarkable that our law enforcement community, our intelligence community, our police, have done as good a job as they have done of protecting us here both in America as well as in other parts of the world.”
“Now, that doesn’t excuse one single event. When it happens, everybody’s focused on it with the intensity that we see here in Belgium right now, but I am convinced that we are slowly and steadily deteriorating Daesh’s ability to recruit, its ability to prosecute its nihilistic, you know, ideology and over time we are going to get back to a world where we feel that we can travel with impunity and feel safe.”
The U.S. Embassy in Belgium has advised citizens that the threat level has been taken down from a four to a three: the threat of more attacks is “serious, possible, and probable.”
U.S. government personnel have been told to defer non-essential travel to Brussels until Tuesday.