Brother of Brussels bomber to represent Belgium in Olympics

Two brothers, two different worlds. One killed 32 people in a suicide attack at Brussels Airport; now the other will represent Belgium in the Rio Olypmics.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Mourad Laachraoui, Belgian Taekwondo athlete and brother of Najim Laachaoui who was implicated in the Brussels bombing attacks, addresses a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2016.

Mourad Laachraoui, 21, whose elder brother was one of the two suicide bombers who attacked Brussels Airport in March, will represent Belgium at the Rio Olympics this summer.

On Friday Laachraoui was crowned the European Taekwondo champion and will now represent his country in Taekwondo in the world's most prestigious sporting competition.

Two months ago his brother Najim, 24, blew himself up at Brussels Airport in an act of terrorism that killed 32 people.

Belgian Olympic athlete Mourad Laachraoui (L) and Najim Laachraoui (R) – one of the suicide bombers who took part in the Brussels attacks on March 22, 2016.

In a news conference two days after the attacks he strongly condemned his brother's role in what happened and said he hadn’t seen Najim since he left Belgium for Syria two years ago.

"I'm not trying to understand. I'm trying to move on and turn the page."

Najim was also linked to the November 13 Paris attacks that left 90 people dead, after his DNA was found on a suicide vest. Belgian officials said that he was an expert bombmaker.

On Friday Mourad won gold medal at the European Taekwondo Championships in Montreux, Switzerland, and will compete in the under 59 kg category in Brazil. He will be part of the team of 185 Belgian athletes representing the country in Rio.

TRTWorld and agencies