An ad campaign by Brussels’ tourism department mocked the idea of a terrorist attack in the city with waffle jokes just two months before Monday’s massacres inside the city’s subway system and airport.
Creators of the #CallBrussels campaign thought it would be a good idea to post phone booths around the city for people who were concerned about Islamic terrorism. It was approved after reports linked the city to the Nov. 13, 2015, terror attacks in Paris, France, that killed 130. That turned out to be true, as wanted fugitive Salah Abdeslam and two others were taken into custody in Brussels after a shootout with police last Friday.
Abdeslam’s fingerprints were also found in a Brussels apartment during an anti-terror raid early last week. An Algerian national identified as Mohamed Belkaid, 35, was killed by a police sniper.
“Did you see some people who are fighting with guns or bombs?” one person asks in the “Visit Brussels” video, which was uploaded to YouTube Jan. 18.
“No! Oh my God, no way!” a woman replies with a laugh.
“Oh course it’s safe. It’s very safe,” says another.
“There’s waffles, and you can’t say no to waffles,” a man adds.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attacks, which killed at least 30 people and wounded over 200 others.
“We were fearing terrorist attacks,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters, CNN reported. “And that has now happened.”
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Authorities said 20 people died at the Maelbeek metro station at at least 10 were slain at Brussels’ international airport.
Police are now looking for a man last seen in surveillance footage wearing light clothes, glasses and a hat. The two men next to him wearing one glove each are suspected to have been suicide bombers.
Federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said the man “is actively being searched for,” CNN reported.