Saturday 1 October 2016

The terrorists who struck at heart of Europe

Manhunt as 34 die, hundreds injured in twin Isil attacks on Brussels

Sarah Collins in Brussels

Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30

The two men on the left are believed to have blown themselves up while the man on the right is being sought by police. Belgian Federal Police/PA Wire
The two men on the left are believed to have blown themselves up while the man on the right is being sought by police. Belgian Federal Police/PA Wire

They may have looked like ordinary airline passengers. But as they pushed their luggage trolleys through the departure hall of Brussels Airport, the three men were hellbent on causing death and destruction on a massive scale. Their suitcases, police believe, contained not clothes but bombs.

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The two men on the left of the CCTV image, dressed identically in black and wearing single black gloves possibly to conceal triggers for the explosives, are thought to have blown themselves up in the attack on the airport in which 14 people were killed and another 100 injured.

Twenty more would be murdered and another 100 maimed a little over an hour later on the Brussels metro. Isil claimed responsibility for both attacks.

The man on the right of the image in a white coat and hat, wearing spectacles and sporting a goatee beard, remains on the run. He is understood to have left his suitcase in the departure hall, where it was detonated, and then fled the scene.

He was the target of a police and special forces operation in Brussels' Schaerbeek suburb.

Last night, the Belgian federal prosecutor said officers had found a nail bomb, believed to be similar to one detonated at the airport, chemicals and an Isil flag at a house that they raided. Belgium shut down its airports and train network and stepped up security at its nuclear power plants.

Click to view full size graphic
Click to view full size graphic

Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, paid tribute to "lives in full flight cut down by the most extreme barbarity" while his French counterpart, Manuel Valls, declared that Europe was now "at war".

Irish Independent

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