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Khalid el-Bakraoui


Six people have been arrested in Brussels as a major investigation continues into attacks that claimed 31 lives in the Belgian capital on March 22.

All suspects have been arrested in the Schaerbeek district. There is no word yet on the identities of the suspects or their possible connection to the attacks.

Separately, in France, a suspect who was plotting an attack has been arrested near Paris, officials said.

The Brussels bombings have been linked to last November’s Paris attacks.

ISIS has claimed the attacks in both Paris and Brussels.

The arrests in Schaerbeek were made on March 24, and followed house-to-house searches in the area.

Residents said they heard explosions during the police raids but the cause was unclear.Schaerbeek arrests following Brussels attacks

Also on March 24, French police launched an anti-terror operation in Argenteuil, north-west of Paris, following the arrest hours earlier of a man suspected of planning an attack.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the suspected militant, a French national, was in an “advanced stage” of a plot, adding that no connection had been made to either the Brussels or the Paris attacks.

Police sources quoted in French media say the suspect had been convicted in his absence in another European country for seeking ISIS recruits to go to Syria.

In November 2015, 130 people died after militants opened fire and detonated bombs in a number of locations in Paris.

Also on March 24, Belgium admitted that it had made “errors” relating to one of the Brussels attackers.

Turkey has said it arrested and deported Brahim el-Bakraoui last June, warning Belgium he was a “foreign fighter” – but was “ignored”. The Dutch authorities had also been alerted, Ankara said.

The Belgian interior and justice ministers said they had offered to resign over this but added that the prime minister refused to let them.

Brahim el-Bakraoui is one of three men who carried out the bombings at Zaventem airport that killed 11 people.

Unconfirmed reports say another of the Brussels airport attackers was the wanted jihadist Najim Laachraoui, whose DNA was found on explosives linked to the attacks in Paris.

The third suspected airport attacker has not yet been identified and is on the run.

Brahim el-Bakraoui’s brother, Khalid, struck at Maelbeek metro station, where 20 people died.

There are reports of a second suspect being sought for that attack. One source told AFP news agency that a man with a large bag had been seen beside Khalid el-Bakraoui on surveillance footage at the metro station.

Meanwhile, VRT reported that investigators were working on the assumption that the cell had been planning a far bigger attack, involving Paris-style shootings as well as suicide bombings.

Links have also emerged with Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris attacks.

Salah Abdeslam was arrested and wounded in a police raid on a flat in the Forest area of Brussels on March 18 – four days before the attacks in the Belgian capital.

Investigators say Khalid el-Bakraoui used a false name to rent the same flat.

On March 24, Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer said he had changed his mind and would not fight extradition from Belgium to France.

Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national born in Belgium, did not have prior knowledge of the Brussels bombings and had stopped co-operating with police following the attacks, his lawyer Sven Mary said.

A court hearing on March 24 on the detention of Salah Abdeslam and two other suspects has been postponed until April 7.


Brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui have been named as the two of the men who carried out attacks in Brussels on March 22, Belgian media report.

The RTBF broadcaster said Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui were known to police. It is believed at least one was among three suspects seen in a CCTV image at Zaventem airport.

Twin explosions at Zaventem airport and another at the Maelbeek metro station left about 34 dead and 250 wounded.

Belgium is observing three days of national mourning.

ISIS has said it was behind the attacks and warned that more would follow.

A minute’s silence for the victims will be held at midday.

Photo Belgium Police

Photo Belgium Police

RTBF said the brothers were known to police and had criminal records.

The broadcaster, quoting a police source, said that Khalid el-Bakraoui, 27, had used a false name to rent the flat in the Forest area of Brussels where police killed a gunman in a shootout last week.

It was during that raid that police found a fingerprint of Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris terror attacks of November 13.

Salah Abdeslam was arrested in a raid in Brussels on March 18 and is due to appear before a pre-trial court on March 23.

Khalid el-Bakraoui is on the Interpol website. It says he is being sought for terrorist activities.

RTBF said Khalid el Bakraoui was jailed for five years in 2011 for car-jacking while his brother Brahim, 30, was sentenced in October 2010 for firing at police.

It is not known if both of the brothers are in the CCTV image handed out by police of the three men at the airport.

Some Belgian media say that one of the brothers may have carried out the metro attack.

Meanwhile, Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure said that the man wearing the hat in the airport CCTV image is Najim Laachraoui.

Najim Laachraoui was named earlier in the week by police as a wanted accomplice of Salah Abdeslam.

Federal prosecutors have not commented on the latest reports but said they would provide more information on March 23.

The three men were seen pushing trolleys carrying suspected bombs at Zaventem airport just before the blasts at a check-in hall.

Two were believed to have died in the attack, while the man in the hat is still being sought.

The airport explosions happened in quick succession shortly after 08:00 local time, killing about 14 people.

A third bomb was found and destroyed in a controlled detonation.

About an hour later another explosion ripped through a train at the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels, killing about 20 people.

The first of the victims to be named is Peruvian Adelma Tapia Ruiz, 37.

Adelma Tapia Ruiz had been at Zaventem airport with her Belgian husband and twin four-year-old daughters, who were unharmed, her brother told Peruvian radio.

Belgium has raised its terrorism alert to the highest level.