Tuesday 6 December 2016

Brussels attacks: 'World's most wanted' Laachraoui blew himself up, officials confirm

Published 23/03/2016 | 21:11

Najim Laachraoui - but the 'man in white' (right) is now a mystery
Najim Laachraoui - but the 'man in white' (right) is now a mystery

The suspected bombmaker in the Paris terror attacks was one of two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Brussels airport.

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Najim Laachraoui, 24, was previously believed to be on the run after dumping a bag containing a bomb that failed to detonate and fleeing the airport.

Ibrahim (left) and Khalid El Bakraoui, and Najim Laachraoui (right)
Ibrahim (left) and Khalid El Bakraoui, and Najim Laachraoui (right)

But officials said his DNA has been verified as that of one of the suicide bombers - meaning the identity of the infamous "man in white" remains a mystery as security services continue to search for him.

Read more: Brussels attacks: 'Turkey deported suicide bomber last year and warned authorities he was a militant'

The revelation adds weight to the theory that both attacks, which killed more than 150 people and injured hundreds more, are linked to the same Islamic State (IS) cell.

It comes as Turkish officials claim they warned the Belgian authorities that one of the Brussels killers was a terrorist - but he was allowed to walk free.

Laachraoui is believed to have made the suicide vests used in the Paris attacks, which had his DNA all over them, according to The Associated Press.

He was being hunted by the Belgian authorities who had suspecting him of being an accomplice of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested on Friday.

Belgium's threat alert remains at its highest level and several suspects believed to be linked to the attacks are still on the loose, according to Paul Van Tigchelt, head of Belgium's terrorism threat body.

Prosecutors said at least 31 people were killed and 270 injured in the three suicide bomb attacks at an airport and metro station in Brussels on Tuesday morning, and the death toll could rise.

Press Association

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