On 22 May, exactly two months after the terrorist attacks in Brussels, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians attends a ceremony in the Royal Palace of Brussels to commemorate the victims and to pay tribute to the emergency services. They were joined by King Albert II, Queen Paola, Princess Astrid, Prince Lorenz, Prince Laurent, Princess Claire and 500 guests.
In his speech King Philippe said it should not be forgotten how the attacks frightened the survivors and the emergency services. “We cannot forget how the events have scarred you. who have given the best of yourself to rescue victims. The Queen and I have met many of you. Your testimonies have touched us sincerely. That is why we are here together at the Palace, to support you and show you the gratitude of the Belgian people. Led by evil, the terrorists meant to kill, main and cause suffering. Their goal is to destroy our society by aiming for the heart, in all that connects us”.
King Philippe also looked towards the future. “Though we cannot guarantee absolute security, we are doing all we can to limit the risk for the citizens to the minimum. Let us continue to build new bridges and keep working on an open and solidary society”.
On the morning of 22 March 2016 three coordinated bombings occurred, two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem and one at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels. In the attacks, 32 victims, three perpetrators were killed and over 300 people were injured, of which 62 were critically injured. Sixteen of the deadly victims were Belgian nationals, while the remaining twelve were from eight different nations. Another bomb was found during the search of Brussels Airport, which was later destroyed by a controlled explosion. ISIS has claimed responsibility of the attacks.
The bombings were the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium’s history.