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Brussels Blasts: Prosecutor names two bombers as brothers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui

Two suicide bombers who detonated explosives at Zaventem airport and in a metro train in Brussels have been named as brothers Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui.

Two suicide bombers who detonated explosives at an airport and in a metro train in Brussels on Tuesday have been named as brothers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui.

Two Brussels bombers named as brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui

Federal prosecutor Frédéric van Leeuw said in a Wednesday statement that Ibrahim El Bakraoui, identified by his fingerprints, was one of the suicide bombers at Brussels Zaventem International Airport. He added that Ibrahim had left a will on a computer found after follow-up searches in the Schaarbeek area of Brussels on Tuesday evening.

His brother Khalid blew himself up on a carriage of the Brussels metro at Maalbeek station, van Leeuw said.

A CCTV image of suspects in the Brussels airport attack. Belgian police accidentally released the image.
A CCTV image of suspects in the Brussels airport attack.

Ibrahim El Bakraoui is pictured in the centre of CCTV images from the airport that were released on Tuesday. The two other men pictured alongside him have not been named, although van Leeuw said that the identities of two of the three men were known.

The man on the left of the image is believed to have died in a suicide blast, while Belgian police have launched a manhunt to find the man on the right. It is believed that his bomb did not detonate. The man, who is still at large, has been named by Belgian media as Najim Laachraoui, but this has not been confirmed.

Belgian broadcaster RTBF said the El Bakraoui brothers were known to the authorities. They had criminal records for organized crime offenses, but not for terrorism.

Khalid was sentenced to five years in prison in 2011 for carjacking and Ibrahim was sentenced to nine years in 2010 for shooting at police during an attempted robbery, Foreign Policy reports. Ibrahim broke the conditions of his parole last year and has eluded capture since.

Deported from Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that one of the Brussels attackers was detained in Turkey’s southeastern Gaziantep province in June 2015 and was subsequently deported.

Ibrahim El Bakraoui
Ibrahim El Bakraoui

An unnamed official in the Turkish president’s office later clarified that this person was Ibrahim El Bakraoui, the Associated Press reports. The official said El Bakraoui was detained at the Syrian border and was deported to the Netherlands in July. Turkey says it warned Belgium and the Netherlands that he was a “foreign terrorist fighter.”

According to the Guardian, an unnamed Turkish counter-terrorism official said El Bakraoui was detained after he had traveled Gaziantep, one week after arriving in Antalya from Europe. He was arrested as part of a Turkish police investigation and was suspected of being linked to foreign fighter networks.

Belgium has not confirmed the Turkish claims.

The aftermath

The two explosions at Zaventem airport and another explosion at Maalbeek metro station on Tuesday morning killed at least 31 people and injured around 300.

Belgium is observing three days of national mourning and held a minute’s silence at noon for the victims of the three explosions.

Brussel minute of silence at Bource square
Minute of silence at Bource square, Brussels
Brussel minute of silence at EU
Minute of silence at the EU.



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