Brussels bombings: Terror group 'were planning to attack nuclear power station', surveillance suggests

Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui reportedly spied on Belgian nuclear power chief's home

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The Independent Online

The Brussels bombers were allegedly planning to attack a nuclear power plant and had recorded 10 hours of surveillance footage of Belgium’s nuclear power chief, it has been reported. 

Hours of reconnaissance footage of the home of the Research and Development Director of the Belgian Nuclear Programme was seized in a raid of an apartment in Brussels in December, in the wake of the Paris attacks. 

Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, the two brothers who blew themselves up in the terror attacks on Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek Metro Station on Tuesday, reportedly obtained the footage from a hidden camera in nearby bushes. 

It is believed they may have been spying on the director as part of a possible kidnap plan to make him help them get into a plant, Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure reports

Details about Brussels attackers revealed

Armed troops were sent to protect both French and Belgian nuclear facilities following the discovery but authorities reportedly did not understand the full significance of the footage until now. 

A Belgian prosecutor said the footage was found “as part of seizures made following the Paris attacks” but declined to name the director due to “obvious security concerns”, the newspaper reported. 

At least 31 people are known to have been killed and nearly 200 people injured - 60 critically - in the series of explosions at the airport and metro station in the heart of the city. 

Isis have claimed responsibility for the attack which they said was in revenge for Belgium’s participation in coalition air strikes against the group’s positions in Syria and Iraq. 

A spokesman for the Islamic extremists said: “Fighters opened fire inside Zaventem Airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek Metro station."

Isis supporters celebrated the attacks on Twitter using the hashtag #Brusselsonfire in Arabic - similar to a #Parisonfire trend seen when the French capital was hit in November.