Sunday

3rd Dec 2023

Brussels suicide bombers 'helped Paris attackers'

The two suicide bombers who carried out the deadly attacks at Brussels airport on Tuesday (22 March) were linked to last November's attacks in Paris, according to the Belgian state broadcaster.

Radio station RTBF said the airport attack was carried out by brothers Khalid el-Bakraoui, 27, and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, 30.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Schaerbeek was still under lockdown Tuesday night as raid went on in terrorist hideout (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

Police had been hunting them since a raid on an apartment in the Brussels suburb of Forest, which led to the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the sole survivor of the team involved in the Paris attacks.

Khalid el-Bakraoui is believed to have rented the Forest apartment under a false name, and the brothers reportedly supplied ammunition and weapons for the Paris attacks.

The suspects had spent time in prison, according to RTBF, but not for terrorist offences.

Ibrahim el-Bakraoui was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2010 after shooting at police officers during an attempted robbery.

Khalid el-Bakraoui was sentenced to five years for attempted car-jackings in 2011. At the time of his arrest, he had been in possession of assault rifles.

The el-Bakraoui brothers are from Brussels, but reportedly also rent an apartment in Charleroi, where two of the Paris attackers met before they headed for the French capital.

Police are looking for the third attacker at Brussels airport, who was identified by the Belgian media as Najim Laachraoui.

Victims named

Police are investigating whether a house on Rue Max Roos in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek was the hideout of the brothers and their accomplice.

The authorities locked down the area around the house on Tuesday, where they have found explosives, a detonator and a flag of the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Residents of the area told this website they were evacuated early afternoon, for fear of explosions, and were advised to go to a shelter nearby.

Residents were only let back in after the raid ended around midnight.

Police were seen taking away evidence from the house, and experts in chemical suits were coming in and out of the building late at night.

It is likely that the three attackers, including the el-Bakraoui, brothers left from this apartment to head to the Brussels airport.

According to media reports, the taxi driver who took them to the airport tipped off police, as he found the passengers and the heavy luggage suspicious.

The first victim was named in the Brussels attacks as Adelma Tapia Ruiz, a 37-year-old Peruvian.

She was reportedly killed at the airport as she was waiting for a flight with her Belgian husband, Christophe Delcambe, and their twin four-year-old daughters Maureen and Alondra. Her family survived the attack.

Interview

Terrorists gain 'advantage' from EU open borders

Former US security chief Michael Chertoff said Schengen states should form "core group" to share intelligence. German intelligence estimates 1,000 dangerous suspects within its borders.

Analysis

How Wilders' Dutch extremism goes way beyond Islamophobia

Without losing sight of his pervasive Islamophobia, it is essential to note Geert Wilders' far-right extremism extends to other issues that could drastically alter the nature of Dutch politics — and end its often constructive role in advancing EU policies.

Latest News

  1. Israel's EU ambassador: 'No clean way to do this operation'
  2. Brussels denies having no 'concern' on Spain's amnesty law
  3. Dubai's COP28 — a view from the ground
  4. Germany moves to criminalise NGO search-and-rescue missions
  5. Israel recalls ambassador to Spain in new diplomatic spat
  6. Migrant return bill 'obstructed' as EU states mull new position
  7. Paris and Berlin key to including rape in gender-violence directive
  8. What are the big money debates at COP28 UN climate summit?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  3. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  4. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  5. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  6. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us