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Terrorists 'Deliberately Targeted European Symbols' of Belgian Capital

© REUTERS / Francois Lenoir A man reacts at a street memorial following Tuesday's bomb attacks in Brussels, Belgium, March 23, 2016
A man reacts at a street memorial following Tuesday's bomb attacks in Brussels, Belgium, March 23, 2016 - Sputnik International
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By staging an explosion at a Brussels subway station, Daesh first of all sought to attack the city's European symbols, according to Johan Leman, a sociology professor emeritus at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Armed police patrol at Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport in London, Britain March 22, 2016. - Sputnik International
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In an interview with Sputnik, Johan Leman, a sociology professor emeritus at the Belgium-based University of Leuven, described the Maalbeek metro station bombing as a Daesh attack on European symbols in Brussels.

The interview came as the international community paid tribute to victims of Tuesday's deadly terror attacks in the Belgium capital Brussels.

Leman, who is also chairman of Foyer, an organization that works to integrate minorities in Molenbeek municipality in Brussels, specifically drew attention to the sites of the terrorist attacks.

"What strikes me is that the terrorists deliberately decided to target international places in Brussels. The Maalbeek metro station is located very close to Schuman Square, which represents European institutions. So one can safely say that the terrorist tried to hit European symbols," he said.

Leman also described Daesh as a mafia-style terrorist group, whose Tuesday attacks came like a bolt from the blue for Brussels police.

© AFP 2021 / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDPeople gather around a makeshift memorial at Place de la Bourse following attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016
Terrorists 'Deliberately Targeted European Symbols' of Belgian Capital - Sputnik International
People gather around a makeshift memorial at Place de la Bourse following attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016

"I think that the police were not prepared for this kind of criminality. What I see is that even Belgium's entire justice system is now unable to fight such mafia-like structures and organizations as Daesh," he said.

On March 22, at least 31 people were killed and 270 more injured in two bomb blasts in Brussels Airport and an explosion at the Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels.

Policemen stand guard at the entrance of a security perimeter set in the Rue de la Loi near the Maalbeek subway station, in Brussels, on March 22, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The Daesh terrorists claimed responsibility for the attacks and warned that more would follow.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Germany and the Trevi fountain in Rome have been lit up in the colors of Belgian flag to show solidarity with the Belgians. Other European and non-European countries are supporting this campaign.

Right after the attacks took place, hundreds of people went to Bourse Plaza to leave a message of condolence and support, despite the fact that authorities asked everybody to stay inside.

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