Suspect in Brussels Terror Attack Still on the Run, Officials Say
EMILY KNAPP,Good Morning America 9 minutes ago
Brussels police say three men seen in surveillance footage are suspects in the Brussels bombings, and the man on the right remains at large.
The surviving suspect directly linked to the terror attacks in Brussels Tuesday is believed to be still on the run, according to Belgian officials.
The unidentified man, who is seen wearing a light-colored jacket in surveillance footage from the airport, had been reportedly arrested earlier this morning by local and international media outlets, including ABC News.
Three other people, who officials believe carried out two bomb attacks at the airport and a suicide bombing on a subway car, are all thought to have died in the blasts, the Belgian prosecutor said today.
Of those three, two of the men have been identified as relatives: one of the airport suicide bombers and the subway suicide bomber were brothers.
The Tuesday morning attacks left at least 31 people dead and at least 260 injured, according to the Belgian prosecutor, who also said those numbers could rise.
The attacks began Tuesday morning when two bombs were detonated at the airport. The next attack consisted of an explosion on the rail tracks of the Maelbeek subway station, according to a spokeswoman for Brussels’ transportation department.
The attacks occurred four days after authorities captured Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in theParis attacks that killed 130 people last November.
In a surveillance photo released after the attack, the subject of the overnight manhunt can be seen accompanied by two men who are thought to be dead after detonating suicide bombs at the airport, the Belgium Federal Prosecutor said in a press conference. The alleged suicide bombers are wearing black and a single glove each in the photo, while the now-arrested suspect is wearing a light-colored jacket and hat obscuring part of his face.
A third bomb, which did not explode, was found in a suitcase at the airport, leading authorities to believe the other bombs were also hidden inside suitcases. The man wearing the light jacket can be seen in the photo with a black suitcase authorities believe contained the bomb they found unexploded.
Police released a bulletin Tuesday evening saying they were searching for the man in the light jacket, asking for public assistance in finding him. A senior U.S. official briefed on the case confirms that the IDs of the suspected attackers have been shared with U.S. authorities.
An ISIS-affiliated website claimed that ISIS “fighters” were responsible for the attacks. A statement on the site says the terror group “carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices” in “the Belgian capital Brussels, a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State [ISIS].”
The website’s claims have not been independently verified, nor have Belgian authorities made an official statement regarding the terror group’s possible involvement in the attacks.
Belgian Ambassador to the U.S. Johan Verbeke told reporters that “statements … cries” in Arabic were reportedly heard at the airport, “so that is the first indication of what the source is maybe, but I don’t want to elaborate on that because that is definitely something that has to be further investigated.”
Verbeke said he did not know what was allegedly said in Arabic.
During a raid in the Brussels neighborhood of Schaerbeek following the attacks, authorities say police found an “explosive device containing nails,” “chemical products” and “an ISIS flag.”
The city’s international airport will stay closed through at least Thursday.
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning to Americans for all of Europe, citing the threat of “near-term” attacks.
“Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation,” the alert said. “U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.”
No Americans have yet been counted among the dead, but at least nine were injured in Tuesday’s attacks, including three Mormon missionaries, as well as a member of the U.S. AirForce and five of his family members.
The latest developments:
- A manhunt is under way for a suspect in Tuesday’s deadly blasts in Brussels.
- Belgian police say they are searching for a man seen in surveillance footage pushing an airport baggage trolley alongside a pair of suicide bombers.
- U.S. officials tell Yahoo News they believe more terrorists linked to the attacks are still at large and likely plotting more strikes.
- Earlier, authorities had identified the man as Najim Laachraoui, 25, who is also wanted in connection with last year’s attacks in Paris.
- More than 30 people were killed and over 200 others injured in the bombing attacks at an airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital. ISIS has claimed responsibility.
- The tragedy has triggered security alerts across western Europe and brought warnings from American officials.
- The State Department issued an alert to all U.S. citizens traveling in Europe, warning of “near-term” attacks there.
Brothers ‘had no known links to terrorism’ until recent raid
Two suicide bombers who carried out Tuesday’s deadly attacks in Brussels were identified by officials as Belgian brothers Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, 30, and Khalid el-Bakraoui, 27.
Ibrahim el-Bakraoui and another man blew themselves up at the airport at 7:58 a.m. — in two explosions, nine seconds apart — and then Khalid el-Bakraoui carried out a suicide attack at the Maelbeek subway station around an hour later, Frédéric Van Leeuw, the Belgian federal prosecutor, said at a news conference. It was not immediately clear whether Khalid el-Bakraoui had also participated in the airport attacks.
While they had a criminal history, the New York Times reports that the pair “had no known links to terrorism until the authorities conducted a raid on March 15 on an apartment in the Forest district of Brussels as part of the investigation into the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.“
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