The bustling Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, handles more than 500 flights a day, bringing more than 27,000 passengers into the facility with approximately the same number departing. Mornings are particularly busy at the airport, and amid the flurry of activity, it is little wonder that on March 22, 2016, three men emerging from a taxi outside of the departures hall passed through unnoticed.
The trio loaded their heavy suitcases onto baggage carts and entered the flow of people heading through the doors toward the ticket desks. Shortly after they entered the departures hall, the three split up to take their places in separate ticket lines.
Three minutes later, one of the men detonated his suitcase bomb, which had been packed with nails, as he stood in one of the check-in lanes. Approximately nine seconds after that, the second man detonated his suitcase bomb in another lane. The third suitcase bomb did not detonate immediately; surveillance camera footage showed that after being thrown to the ground by the second blast, the third man, Mohamed Abrini, simply got up and walked away from the airport toward the city center.