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All the latest developments in Brussels

All the latest developments in Brussels
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By Catherine Hardy with Reuters, AFP
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The inquiry, Abdeslam court appearance, the security situation and the warnings about Easter weekend travel.

The latest developments

  • Inquiry focuses on finding the ‘third man’ seen on airport CCTV footage with two suicide bombers.
  • Fifth bomber may have been on metro
  • Ankara criticises Belgium for failing to track Brahim El Bakraoui after he was deported from Turkey last year

The identified attackers

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Investigators now think five individuals may have been involved in the attacks:

  • Brahim El Bakraoui – airport
  • Najim Laachraoui – airport
  • Khalid El Bakroui – Maalbeck metro
  • Hat, white jacket, glasses – airport?
  • Unidentified bomber – metro?

Prosecutors say the unidentified attacker fled the scene at the airport. A third suitcase bomb, the biggest of the three, was later found unexploded.

Brahim El Bakraoui

  • Centre figure in airport CCTV footage
  • 29 years old
  • Convicted of armed robbery in Belgium
  • Deported from Turkey’s Syrian border in 2015
  • Elder brother of Khalid El Bakraoui

Khalid El Bakraoui

  • Younger brother of Brahim El Bakraoui
  • 27 years old
  • Detonated bomb on metro train
  • Convicted of armed robbery in Belgium
  • Rented the apartment recently raided by police in the Forest area of Brussels.

Najim Laachraoui

  • On the left of airport CCTV footage
  • Suspected of manufacturing explosive belts for the Paris attacks.

Media around the world are broadcasting this CCTV picture of alleged suspects in the #Brussels airport bombings. pic.twitter.com/7C6ZSuTJ0c

— euronews (@euronews) March 22, 2016

Turkey’s prior warning

#Belgium failed to detect attacker's terror links: Erdogan https://t.co/vI0ayR4w3Cpic.twitter.com/OJeXUJ45hI

— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) March 23, 2016

The Turkish President has criticised Belgium for failing to track Brahim El Bakraoui.

Turkey deported the 29-year-old in 2015

“ Belgium ignored our warning that this person is a foreign fighter,”Recep Tayyip Erdogan says El Bakraoui was detained near the Syrian border.

In response, the Belgian government says the 29-year-old was deported to the neighbouring Netherlands, not Belgium.

Officials also say they cannot detain militant suspects without clear evidence of a crime.

Salah Abdeslam

Lawyer: Salah Abdeslam “wishes to leave for France’” https://t.co/ftywANRVgNpic.twitter.com/caeaDfHM6w

— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) March 24, 2016

  • Charged with terrorism offences in Belgium
  • Wanted for questioning in connection with Paris attacks last November
  • Appeared in court in Brussels on Thursday morning
  • Lawyer Sven Mary says his client has changed his mind and wants to be extradited to France as quickly as possible.
  • Mary says he is cooperating with investigators.

Security in Belgium

  • Budgets have been increased since the Paris attacks
  • 2,500 federal police to be recruited
  • Aim is to fill 20% shortfall in full-strength force of 12,500
  • Highest per capita number of foreign fighters in Syria of any european nation
  • 300 fighters in population of 11 million

Easter weekend travel affected

  • Brussels Airport will be closed until at least Saturday
  • Travellers diverted to Antwerp, Liege and Lille in France.
  • Brussels Airlines advises travellers to arrive at least 3 hours before flying to clear security.

In numbers

  • 31 people died in Tuesday’s attacks
  • 11 die at airport
  • 20 die at Maalbeek metro station
  • 270 injured
  • 40 nationalities implicated
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