Europe — One Brussels airport suicide bomber has been identified as a former Islamic State prison guard in Syria, according to the lawyer of two French journalists who were seized by the terror organization in 2013, said the Guardian in a written report issued Friday.
The man, one of the two attackers that killed 16 people at the Brussels airport last month, has been identified as Najim Laachraoui, who could also have participated in the Paris bombings that took place in November last year.
Marie-Laure Ingouf, the lawyer of the French journalists, said that Laachraoui held them as hostages in Syria for 10 months, alongside two other journalists who were released in April 2014.
“I can confirm that he was the jailer of my clients,” she said to The Guardian, adding that journalist Nicolas Hénin had “formally identified” him as the bomber.
Laachraoui, a 24-year-old with Belgian nationality, conducted a suicide bombing at the Zaventem airport on March 22, alongside Ibrahim El Bakraoui. The brother of the latter, blew himself up at the Maelbeek metro station, moments after the first explosion occurred at the airport.
French media continue in the search of terrorist attackers
According to French media, the two journalists had recognised the terrorist as one of their captors, shortly after they saw a photograph published in the context of the Brussels attacks. They later identified another man, who is currently in custody after he killed four people in a Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014, as reported by The Guardian.
Fiscals in Belgium have reported that Laachraoui, who studied electrical engineering in Brussels, traveled to Syria in February 2013 to join the forces of the terror group as a foreign fighter, according to The Guardian. Nonetheless, he came back to Europe, crossing a border between Hungary and Austria in September 2015.
The same man has been associated with the Paris attacks that killed 130 people in November. French prosecutors have said they found traces of the Laachraoui DNA on a suicide vest that was found at the Bataclan concert hall, and on explosives used at the Stade de France.
French newspaper Le Parisien said in a report that Laachraoui was one of the “less brutal members of an ISIS team of prison guards”. The former hostages were quoted as saying that he used to ask them scientific quiz questions “he expected them to answer”.
The terrorist appeared to be “someone of intelligence, composed, capable of adapting rapidly to new situations”, said Le Parisien, quoting a non-identified source from the interior ministry.
Brussels authorities have been working hard to recover physical means affected by the bombings. The airport started functioning partially, two weeks ago and will reopen completely in June. Moreover, the Maelbeek metro station, where more than a dozen people died, will reopen on Monday.
Source: The Guardian