Two brothers carried out suicide bombings at Brussels Airport and on the Brussels metro on Tuesday a Belgian Federal Prosecutor Frederic van Leeuw said yesterday, adding that airport bomber, Ibrahim el-Bakraoui had left a will on a computer.
His brother, Khalid, blew himself up on a carriage of the Brussels metro at Maelbeek Metro Station, Van Leeuw told a news conference. Two other men captured on closed-circuit television at the airport with Ibrahim el-Bakraoui had yet to be identified, Van Leeuw said.
The first bomb at the airport went off near desk 11 at 7:58am and the second followed nine seconds later near desk 2 of the departure hall, Van Leeuw said.
The prosecutor quoted Ibrahim el-Bakraoui’s will as saying: “Always on the run, not knowing what to do anymore, being looked for everywhere, not being safe any longer” and “I don’t want to end up in a cell next to him.”
The second airport suicide bomber has not been identified, while a third man, who left the airport before the explosions, is still being hunted, Van Leeuw said.
At a raid in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek on Tuesday night, police found 15kg of explosives, 150 liters of acetone, 30 liters of oxygenated water, detonators and a suitcase filled with screws and nails as well as materials, such as plastic boxes, needed to pack up the explosives.
Brussels yesterday awoke amid growing suggestions that the bombings were the work of the same Islamic State group cell that attacked Paris last year.
The EU’s capital awoke under guard after 34 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in Tuesday’s attacks. The Islamic State group, which was behind the Paris attacks, claimed responsibility for the Brussels bombings, which laid bare Europe’s vulnerability to a group trying to spread violence well beyond its bases in the Middle East.
Belgium is in the midst of three days of mourning and government offices, schools and residents held a moment of silence to honor the dead, marking the moment in a mood of defiance mixed with anxiety that others involved in the attacks might still be at large.
Police conducted raids overnight and circulated a photograph of three men seen at the airport wheeling trollies that presumably contained explosives-filled suitcases.
Belgian newspaper DH reported that the man said to be at large might be Najim Laachraoui, whom Belgian authorities have been searching for since last week as a suspected accomplice of key Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.
Laachraoui is believed to have made the suicide vests used in the Paris attacks, a French police official said, adding that Laachraoui’s DNA was found on all of the vests as well as in a Brussels apartment where they were made.
Abdeslam was arrested on Friday last week in a Brussels neighborhood where he grew up, a rough place with links to several of the Paris attackers.
A Belgian official working on the investigation said that it is a “plausible hypothesis” that Abdeslam was part of the cell linked to the Brussels attack.
French and Belgian authorities have said in recent days that the network behind the Paris attacks was much larger than initially thought — and developments this week suggest the same group could have staged both the Paris and Brussels attacks.
Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens said that the nation would remain at its highest terrorism threat level until further notice. That level means there is a threat of an “imminent” attack.
“It is a war that terrorism has declared not only on France and on Europe, but on the world,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. “We must be able to face the extension of radical Islamism ... that spreads in some of our neighborhoods and perverts our youth.”
Brussels Airport announced that it would remain closed to passenger flights for at least another day, right up to the start of the busy Easter weekend. Airport officials said they would have to cancel about 600 flights each yesterday and today.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a