Global Independent Analytics

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

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

Lizzie Dearden and Ashley Coburn for Independent report: two brothers have been named by local media as the suicide bombers behind the Brussels Airport attacks that killed at least 14 people and injured up to 100.

El-Bakraoui brothers, Khalid and Ibrahim, were named as suspected militants of the Islamic State who blew themselves up in a crowded departure terminal at the Brussels Airport. Belgium federal prosecutor named the brothers as the police lost the suspects in a chase.

In their rented under false identity flat, there was found a Kalashnikov, ISIS flag and a book about Salafism. Khalid, who was earlier suspected of terror offence, was previously jailed for nine years for an assault during a robbery. His brother was imprisoned for car-jackings.

Dearden and Coburn continue: “The two men, aged 27 and 30, are believed to be the two suicide bombers who detonated their vests inside Brussels Airport's busy departures terminal on Tuesday morning.” Police are still pursuing a third suspect, Soufiane Kayal, who has been wanted for months as an alleged bomb-maker linked to the deadly attacks in Paris. Under a fake ID, he rented one of the hide-outs in Auvelais, where the cell prepared for the assaults that would kill 130 people.

“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,” assume Dearden and Coburn.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

EXPERT OPINION

Lionel Baland

Brussels is the capital city of Europe, of Belgium and of Flanders. Everybody could imagine an attack there, especially in the metro and at the Brussels airport. The Belgian police captured some days ago Salah Abdeslam, an Islamist who took part at the attacks in Paris. All these elements could conduct to envisage the present drama. But, the Belgian government didn’t reach to protect its own people and main city.

I was this 22 of March – the day of the attacks in Brussels -  in Verviers in the Eastern part of the country where in January 2015, the police killed two Islamists preparing an attack. This small city was one century ago a center of the textile industry and was very rich. The middle class houses of this time are still there. But the inhabitants are not anymore the same. Henceforth, immigrants from third world countries and mainly from Morocco are living there. In the region, everybody knows that this situation come from the politics of the former socialist mayor who attracted in the city poor immigrants to get their votes. A lot of women wear the veil and some the burqa; the rate of crime is high and the Belgian inhabitants don’t want anymore to live in the city center but prefer to stay in villages outside it. In the center of the town, plenty of stores are empty.

After the events of Brussels, the police officers in Verviers were sent to the front of the schools and the public administration buildings. But they were only two for each building; they had only their own revolver and only some had a bulletproof jacket. If one or more Islamists attacked with a submachine, the policemen would be killed without be able to do something. It’s an illustration of the true situation in Belgium: the authorities have to make a kind of poor show to reassure the people, but that will fool no one.

If in Verviers, this situation happens; near Brussels - in municipalities as Molenbeek or Schaerbeek - this problem is worse because it’s there at a very large scale. If in Verviers, the police can not manage the problems, you can imagine, how it is near Brussels.

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