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All the latest developments in Brussels

All the latest developments in Brussels
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


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.

— euronews (@euronews) March 22, 2016

Turkey’s prior warning

#Belgium failed to detect attacker's terror links: Erdogan

— 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’”

— 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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