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Costa Rica airports increase security following Brussels blasts

March 23, 2016

Travelers should give themselves at least three hours to pass through security at Juan Santamaría International Airport on Tuesday and throughout the week after terrorist attacks in Brussels sent airports around the world into heightened security mode.

Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority announced that it had elevated the threat level from green to yellow at the country’s airports, including Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela — Costa Rica’s largest — and Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste.

Glen Pacheco, head of security for Juan Santamaría International Airport, said there was no need for alarm but travelers should be aware that security and immigration screening would be more rigorous starting Tuesday. Pacheco said that the elevated security measures at Juan Santamaría would continue at least through the Holy Week holiday.

More than 30 people were killed and dozens injured in two terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday. Emergency services said 14 of those killed and more than 90 of those injured were the victims of two blasts at the check-in area of the main terminal at Brussels’ Zaventem airport. Shortly afterwards, another explosion ripped through a train at Maalbeek metro station, killing around 20 others and wounding more than 100 people.

The Belgian city was already on high alert following Friday’s arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November attacks on Paris that killed 130. Both attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group.

President Luis Guillermo Solís condemned the attacks Tuesday and expressed his sympathy with the people of Belgium and the European Union.

“Such acts of barbarism have no justification,” Solís said, “In the name of the people and government of Costa Rica I express my solidarity and condolences for the Belgian people and their authorities, as well as the European Union.”

AFP contributed reporting from Belgium to this article.

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