Date
31 March 2017
Broken windows of the terminal at Brussels national airport are seen during a ceremony Wednesday following the bomb attacks a day earlier. Photo: Reuters
Broken windows of the terminal at Brussels national airport are seen during a ceremony Wednesday following the bomb attacks a day earlier. Photo: Reuters

Belgium names bomber brothers; hunt on for third key suspect

Belgian authorities named two brothers on Wednesday as suicide bombers behind Tuesday’s deadly attacks in Brussels, and said a hunt was on for another key suspect who was on the run.

The suicide bombers were identified as Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, both with criminal pasts and suspected links with the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw told a news conference that Ibrahim, 29, one of two men who blew themselves up at Brussels airport on Tuesday, had left a will on a computer dumped in a rubbish bin near the militants’ hideout, Reuters reported.

In it, he described himself as “always on the run, not knowing what to do anymore, being hunted everywhere, not being safe any longer and that if he hangs around, he risks ending up next to the person in a cell”.

His brother Khalid, 27, detonated a bomb an hour later on a crowded rush-hour metro train near the European Commission headquarters, Van Leeuw said.

The brothers were identified by their fingerprints and on security cameras.

A second suicide bomber at the airport had yet to be identified and a third man, who was not named, had left the biggest bomb and ran out of the terminal before the explosions.

Belgian media named that man as Najim Laachraoui, 25, a suspected IS recruiter and bomb-maker whose DNA was found on two explosives belts used in last year’s Paris attacks.

But some reports suggested that Laachraoui was the second suicide bomber at the airport.

IS has claimed responsibility for the bombings, which came four days after police arrested Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in last year’s Paris terror attacks.

The attacks in Brussels left at least 31 people dead and injured more than 250, sending shockwaves around the world and prompting authorities to review security at airports and on public transport.

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RC

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