Belgian attackers may be linked to Paris attacks

As part of investigation into last year's Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors confirm issuing international arrest warrant in December for one of two brothers blamed for deadly attacks in Brussels this week

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Wreckage are seen outside the terminal at Brussels International airport following bomb attacks in Brussels metro and Belgium's airport of Zaventem, Belgium, March 23, 2016.

An international arrest warrant was issued in December for one of the two brothers blamed for the deadly bomb blasts in Brussels this week because he was somewhat affiliated with last year’s Paris attacks, Belgian prosecutors said.

A 27-year-old suicide bomber, identified as Khalid El Bakraoui, detonated a bomb in a crowded rush hour train in Brussels on Tuesday, prosecutors have said.

According to a statement on Thursday, he was previously suspected of using a false identity to rent a property in Charleroi, south of Brussels, which is assumed to be used as a safe house for the Paris attackers and affiliated members.

The property was searched by Belgian police two days before the international arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 11. His photo and details appear on Interpol’s website under wanted people.

Prosecutors say his older brother had been one of the two men who blew themselves up at the Brussels airport in the attacks on Tuesday.

Saleh Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect in November's Paris attacks, was not aware of the plan to attack Brussels airport and metro, his lawyer said.

Abdeslam was arrested last Friday, three days before the attacks.

"He was not aware," several Belgian media outlets quoted Sven Mary as saying on Thursday.

TRTWorld, Reuters