Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Brussels mourns, Belgium on alert as police hunt suspect

Published:Thursday | March 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Police search passenger bags at the Central Station in Brussels yesterday. 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 34 were killed in bombings on the Brussels airport and a subway station.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, sixth left, walks with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, fourth left, during a ceremony to lay flowers at the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels yesterday.
This photo provided yesterday by Interpol shows Belgium's Khalid Bakraoui. Belgian state broadcaster RTBF has identified two of the attackers who targeted Brussels as brothers Khalid and Brahim Bakraoui.


Belgians began three days of mourning yesterday for the victims of the Brussels airport and subway bombings, and the country remained on high alert as authorities hunted for one of the suspected attackers seen on surveillance video with two others who blew themselves up.

Several people who may be linked to the attacks were still on the loose and the country's threat alert remained at its highest level, meaning there was danger of an imminent attack, said Paul Van Tigchelt, head of Belgium's terrorism threat body. The attacks killed 34 people, including three suicide bombers, and injured 270 others, authorities said.

As government offices, schools and residents held a moment of silence yesterday morning to honour the dead, the mood was defiance mixed with anxiety that others involved in the attacks were still at large.

Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw identified two of the Brussels attackers as brothers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, a suicide bomber at the airport, and Khalid El Bakraoui, who targeted the subway.

Investigators raided the Brussels neighbourhood of Schaerbeek after the attacks and found a computer in a trash can on the street, including a note from Ibrahim El Bakraoui saying he felt increasingly unsafe and feared landing in prison.

A taxi driver who took Ibrahim El Bakraoui and two others to the airport led investigators to an apartment where they found 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of TATP explosives, along with nails and other materials used to make bombs, Van Leeuw said.