Belgian and US security officials brief US police, Jewish officials


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Top Belgian and U.S. security officials briefed U.S. police and Jewish security officials on lessons learned from the Brussels attacks.

The Secure Community Network, the security arm of major Jewish organizations that convened the conference call on Monday, said 300 police and Jewish security officials from across the United States joined the call.

While the call was off the record, SCN told JTA that a deputy commissioner of the Brussels police and a top Department of Homeland Security official briefed the group, as well as a recently retired Israeli security official who specializes in suicide bombings.

Attacks last week at Brussels airport and a metro station killed 35 and wounded over 300.

Paul Goldenberg, SCN’s director, told JTA the officials briefed the group on the psychology of suicide bombers, how they pick their targets and how to deal with the psychological effects of a major terrorist attack.

“Citizens often do not realize that the direct damage — that is, loss of life, injury and property damage — is the least ambitious” of the terrorist’s goals, Goldenberg said in opening remarks on the call. “The psychological impact of terrorist attacks often outweighs the impact of the damage and bodily harm caused by such incidents.”

The call also discussed the need for improving communications between police and communities from where the attackers emerge, as well as targeted communities.

SCN is an arm of the Jewish federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The conference call was coordinated with Rutgers University’s Homeland Security Institute.

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