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Najim Laachraoui


One of the Brussels bombers once worked as a cleaner at the European Parliament, officials say.

The man had month-long summer jobs there in 2009 and 2010, the EU Parliament said, without revealing his identity.

However, sources say he is Najim Laachraoui, one of the airport bombers.

Belgian PM Charles Michel has defended his country’s approach to fighting terror threats, insisting Belgium is not a “failed state”.

Charles Michel said everyone in authority had to take a share of the blame for failings before and after March 22.

Najim Laachraoui, already a major suspect on the run after the Paris attacks in November, was named as one of the two bombers who targeted Zaventem airport.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

The EU Parliament said the cleaning company had provided proof that the person hired had no criminal record at the time.

PM Charles Michel said 30 measures were being put place in Belgium, including a ban on pre-paid mobile phone cards.

“Our key message today is we return to normal life in Brussels and in Belgium,” the Associated Press quoted him as telling reporters.

“When there is an attack like that of course that’s a failure and nobody can deny this,” he said.

“[But] I cannot accept the idea that we’re a failed state.”

Belgium has been accused of taking an un-co-ordinated approach to terror threats because it has multiple institutions representing the country’s complex linguistic and political makeup.

The Brussels region alone has six police zones.

According to Belgium’s De Tijd newspaper, Charles Michel said it was “short-sighted to say a unified police force could have prevented the attacks”.

He said there had been some successes like the recent arrest of the surviving suspect of the Paris attacks last November, Salah Abdeslam, adding it had taken 10 years to track down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks in the US.

The search for the March 22 attackers is not yet over as pictures taken at Zaventem airport show three men entering the terminal building with explosives.

Najim Laachraoui and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui detonated their bombs and the third is thought to have escaped.


Najim Laachraoui has been identified as an accomplice of captured Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, Belgian prosecutors say.

The 24-year-old man is still on the run. A statement said he had been using false ID and that his DNA had been found in houses used by the suspected jihadist network.

Salah Abdeslam was captured in Brussels on March 18 and is still being interrogated.

However, Belgium’s federal prosecutor said he was “still far from solving the puzzle” of the Paris attacks.

“We have quite a few pieces of the puzzle and in the last few days several pieces have found their place,” Frederic Van Leeuw told journalists in Brussels.

ISIS said it was behind the Paris attacks.

The prosecutor’s statement said that Salah Abdeslam had traveled twice to the Hungarian capital Budapest, using a rental car in September 2015.Najim Laachraoui Paris attacks

In the car were two other men, using fake Belgian identity cards with the names Samir Bouzid and Soufiane Kayal.

Soufiane Kayal has now been identified as Najim Laachraoui by DNA found at houses in the town of Auvelais and the Brussels district of Schaerbeek.

“The investigation showed that Soufiane Kayal can be identified as Najim Laachraoui, born on 18 May 1991 and who traveled to Syria in February 2013,” the statement said.

Belgian police said Samir Bouzid was “most probably” Mohamed Belkaid. He was killed by a police sniper in a raid on a flat outside Brussels on March 15.

The prosecutor appealed for public help in finding Najim Laachraoui.

Also still sought is Mohamed Abrini, who was filmed at petrol stations with Salah Abdeslam two days before the Paris attacks.

Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer, Sven Mary, meanwhile told Belgian radio that his client appeared “relieved” that the hunt was over.

He said: “Salah wants to co-operate and he’s done that since Saturday. Are we going to apply for the status [of informer]? He’s never said he wants to be an informer. I’ve never said that he’s asked for that.”

The lawyer added: “I have said that he can be of invaluable worth for different parties. He can give invaluable information for police as well as judges and lawyers.

“The statements of the French prosecutor… could ensure that Abdeslam is scared off.”

Sven Mary was referring to comments over the weekend by Paris prosecutor Francois Molins that Salah Abdeslam had admitted he wanted to blow himself up during the attacks, but then changed his mind.

Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer has filed a legal complaint against the prosecutor for violating secrecy.

Sven Mary also said he would continue to fight a transfer to France, but added: “Let’s be quite clear. He’s going to France – there is no single reason that he won’t go to France. It’ll be the investigating judge who decides when he goes.”