Brussels bombers named as more facts emerge overnight

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BELGIAN authorities have confirmed that the two men who were initially identified as suicide bombers at Brussels airport were brothers Khalid 27 and Brahim 30 El Bakraoui, who were pictured in CCTV from the airport, each wearing a single black glove on their left hand possibly to hide detonators or as a gesture, as yet not understood.

Although initial reports suggested that both brothers had died at the airport, the latest news is that authorities believe that only Brahim remained at the airport whist Khalid journeyed to the centre of Brussels and detonated his bomb in the metro. This then leaves a mystery as to how two bombs were detonated at the airport and one did not and was left unattended.

The two men were well known to the police and were on a wanted list, although they first came to the attention of the authorities when they were involved in an attempted robbery from a stockbroker in 2010 which saw them firing Kalashnikovs at police who were chasing them through Brussels.

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Brahim was convicted and given a nine year prison sentence whilst his brother was not charged until 2011, this time for car theft and received five years of probation although he was also said to be in possession of at least one Kalashnikov.

It was Khalid who is now is suspected of having rented the apartment in Forest which was raided by the police and the brothers may have been the two men who escaped following the arrest of Salah Abdeslam.

In addition and as part of the investigation, Belgian authorities  have named the third man as Laachraoui Najim, 25 who is believed to have been directly involved in the carnage in Paris in November of last year. 

In the picture from the airport, he is the only one of the three who is not wearing a single black glove which has caused speculation as to whether he had any intention of setting off the suitcase bomb which he was responsible for.

It now transpires that he had been recorded crossing between Austria and Hungary in September of last year using a false name ‘Soufiane Kayal’ in the company of Abdeslam and Mohamed Belkaid, an Algerian who was shot in Forest earlier in the week.

Following the release of the CCTV picture, a taxi driver who had driven the three suspects to the airport led police to the Schaerbeek area of Brussels where they found another bomb and a Daesh flag.

Whist King Philippe gave a televised speech calling for calm and vigilance, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel stated simply “We feared a terrorist attack would happen and this is what happened.”

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