Brussels bombers identified, search ongoing for third

In this image provided by Daniela Schwarzer, smoke is seen at Brussels airport in Brussels, Belgium, after explosions were heard Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (Daniela Schwarzer via AP)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian authorities were searching Wednesday for a top suspect in the country’s deadliest attacks in decades, as the European Union’s capital awoke under guard and with limited public transport after 31 were killed in bombings on the Brussels airport and a subway station.

Police conducted raids into the night and circulated a photo of three men seen in the airport suspected of involvement in Tuesday’s attacks.

Belgian state broadcaster RTBF has identified two of the attackers as brothers Khalid and Brahim Bakraoui. They are believed to have blown themselves up in the attacks.

The third man was identified as Najim Laachraoui. There were conflicting reports on whether or not he was captured Wednesday, but Belgium’s federal prosecutor said he was not.

The report Wednesday says the brothers were known to police for past crimes, but nothing relating to terrorism. RTBF says Khalid El Bakraoui had rented an apartment which was raided by police last week in an operation that led authorities to top Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.

Last week, Belgian police said they were hunting for a suspected Abdeslam accomplice, Laachraoui. He is believed to have made the suicide vests used in the November attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed, according to a French police official who said Laachraoui’s DNA was found on all of them and in a Brussels apartment where they were made.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

The airport and several Brussels metro stations remain closed Wednesday. Security forces stood guard around the neighborhood housing headquarters of EU institutions, as nervous Brussels residents began returning to school and work under a misty rain.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s