Brothers IDed as Bombers; 3rd Suspect at Large

And possibly a fourth as Brussels investigation continues
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 23, 2016 3:27 AM CDT
Updated Mar 23, 2016 6:58 AM CDT
2 Brussels Attackers Named
People hold a banner reading "I am Brussels" behind flowers and candles to mourn for the victims at Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels on Tuesday.   (Martin Meissner)

Two of the suicide bombers in Monday's Brussels attacks have been identified as brothers, while a third key suspect has been named but remains at large. Belgian state broadcaster RTBF identified the brothers as Khalid and Brahim El Bakraoui, and said they are believed to have blown themselves up, reports the AP. The brothers, both Belgian nationals, had served time in prison for crimes including carjackings and attempted armed robbery, reports the New York Times. Khalid El Bakraoui reportedly had rented an apartment that was raided last week in an operation that led cops to top Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam. There's some confusion about whether the brothers are both pictured in a surveillance photo of three men from the Brussels airport: The Guardian reports Khalid may be responsible for the subway bombing, suggesting that a fourth unidentified attacker is among those three in the photo.

Authorities were expected to clear up the confusion later Tuesday. Meanwhile, multiple Belgian media outlets have named Najim Laachraoui as the man in white in the photo. The BBC describes Laachraoui, a 24-year-old Belgian citizen, as a "key bomb maker" and says he is believed to have played a role in the Paris attacks as well. Belgian media initially reported that he had been arrested, but those reports have since been walked back. The New York Times, meanwhile, takes a closer look at that surveillance photo, showing the "calm" and "determined" look on the faces of the men about to die—and the telltale single gloves they were wearing, apparently to conceal their bomb triggers. The developments come as European Union's unofficial capital awoke under guard and with limited public transport after 34 were killed in the airport and subway bombings. (More Brussels attack stories.)

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