Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui named as suicide bombers behind Brussels terror attacks

Twin explosions at the airport and another at a metro station on Tuesday left at least 31 dead and 250 wounded.

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 23 March 2016 08:11 GMT
Unidentified suicide bomber (L) and Brahim el-Bakraoui (R)
Unidentified suicide bomber (L) and Brahim el-Bakraoui (R)

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Two brothers have been named by local media among the bombers behind the terrorist attacks that killed more than 30 people and injured 250 more in Brussels.

Belgium’s state broadcaster RTBF has named Khalid and Brahim, also known as Ibrahim, el-Bakraoui as two of the suspected Isis militants who blew themselves up amid crowds at Brussels Airport and on a train at Maalbeek station.

Both were originally reported to have died in the departures terminal but new Belgian reports alleged that Brahim killed himself at the airport, while Khalid was on the Metro.

An alert was put out for the pair following a police raid in the Brussels suburb of Forest last week where two men escaped as a gunman battled with officers before being shot dead.

Brussels airport bombing

Belgium's federal prosecutor named the el-Bakraoui brothers as the hunt continued after police lost the suspects in a chase over rooftops.

A Kalashnikov, book about Salafism and Isis flag was found alongside a large quantity of ammunition in the flat, which Khalid was suspected of renting under a false identity.

Khalid was wanted on suspicion of terror offences, Belgian media reported, and was previously jailed for nine years after shooting at police during a robbery.

His brother was imprisoned in 2011, a year later, for car-jackings, La Libre reported.

Police are still hunting a third suspected accomplice pictured with one of the suspected bombers on airport CCTV, named by La Derniere Heure newspaper as Najim Laachraoui.

Under his alias Soufiane Kayal, the 25-year-old had been wanted for months as a suspect bomb-maker linked to the Paris attacks after his DNA was found alongside that of the terrorists who carried out the massacres at a safe house where traces of explosives and suicide belts were found.

He rented one of the hide-outs, in Auvelais, where the cell prepared for the massacres that would kill 130 people in the French capital.

Laachraoui was picked up in Budapest by Salah Abdeslam, possibly making his way back from Syria, on 9 September alongside Mohamed Belkaid, the 35-year-old Algerian killed by police in Forest on 15 March.

The net has been tightening on the remaining accomplices following Belkaid's death and Abdeslam's eventual arrest on Friday and there was speculation that Tuesday's attacks were either an act of revenge or the fulfilment of plots Abdeslam claimed had already been hatched.

The airport explosions, followed little over an hour later by another blast at a Metro station, left at least 31 dead and 250 wounded.

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