FACTBOX: Suspects Linked to the Paris and Brussels Terror Attacks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) —
Belgian police officers making checks at the border from France to Belgium last month. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)
Belgian police officers making checks at the border from France to Belgium last month. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

Following Tuesday’s Islamic State attacks in Brussels, below is a list of the principal suspects and their links to the Nov.13 Paris attacks:

* Khalid El Bakraoui, 27, Belgian, blew himself up on a Brussels metro train at Maelbeek station on Tuesday, prosecutors said.

He was handed a five-year prison sentence for car-jacking in 2011. Belgian media have cited police sources saying he used fake ID to rent the apartment in the Forest district of Brussels where police hunting the prime surviving suspect of the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, killed a gunman in a raid last week.

* Ibrahim El Bakraoui, 29, Belgian, blew himself up at Brussels airport on Tuesday, prosecutors said. He was with two other men caught on CCTV at the airport. One of the others also blew himself up and the third man is being hunted.

Bakraoui was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2010 for shooting at police officers during an attempted robbery. He has been on the run since breaching parole terms last year.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that El Bakraoui was detained near the Syrian border last year and deported to the Netherlands, but that Belgium ignored Turkey’s warning that the man was a terrorist.

The Bakraoui brothers may have fled last week’s shootout at the flat in Forest. In the raid, investigators found an Islamic State flag, an assault rifle, detonators and a fingerprint of Abdeslam, who was arrested three days later.

* Najim Laachraoui, 25, Belgian, was the second suicide bomber at the airport, Belgian media said, identifying him as one of the three men in the CCTV image released by police.

Prosecutors said Laachraoui’s DNA has been found in houses used by the Paris attackers last year. He left Brussels for Syria in February 2013. Local media have said he has technical training that could mean he was the armourer of the operation.

Travelling under the false name Soufiane Kayal, he was documented driving from Hungary into Austria in September in a car driven by Salah Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the Paris attacks who was held in Brussels on Friday.

* Salah Abdeslam, 26, French, now in Bruges prison awaiting trial in Belgium, was Europe’s most-wanted fugitive until his capture on Friday in Brussels after a four-month manhunt.

Born and raised in Belgium to Moroccan-born parents, he told a magistrate he planned to blow himself up at a sports stadium in Paris on Nov. 13 but backed out at the last minute. It is not clear if he helped prepare Tuesday’s attacks. His fingerprint was found in the Forest apartment, putting police on his trail. Investigators say he arranged logistics for the Paris attacks.

* Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 28, Belgian, was killed by French police in a shootout in the Paris suburb of St. Denis on Nov. 18. Having fought in Syria as Abu Omar al-Beljiki (The Belgian), he avoided capture in a Belgian police raid in Verviers on Jan. 16, 2015 in which two fellow Belgians were killed.

He boasted of flitting between Syria and Europe and was believed to have promoted attacks including the 2014 shooting at Brussels’ Jewish Museum and the Thalys train attack last August.

* Brahim Abdeslam, 31, French, brother of Salah, blew himself up at a Paris cafe on Nov. 13. He owned a bar that his brother Salah ran in their home district of Molenbeek, home to many of those suspect of ties to Islamic State. He was deported from Turkey, accused trying to join terrorists. He was questioned on return but Belgian police found no reason to detain him.

* Mohamed Abrini, 30, Belgian, has been directly linked to Salah Abdeslam and is on Europol’s top 50 most-wanted list. Some Belgian media have suggested he might be the fugitive third man in the CCTV image taken in Brussels airport on Tuesday and who prosecutors believe abandoned his bomb without detonating it.

Abrini was seen on CCTV with Salah Abdeslam on Nov. 11 in a car used in the Paris attacks. He remains unaccounted for by police since the Paris attacks and is known to have fought in Syria. Like the Abdeslam brothers, he grew up in Molenbeek.

* Mohamed Belkaid, 35, Algerian, was killed last week by a police sniper at the flat in Forest. He was believed to be in Belgium illegally and was only known to police for petty crimes committed in 2014.

However, using the fake identity of Samir Bouzid, he was documented as having been in the car with Abdeslam and Laachraoui in Hungary in September. Also with Laachraoui, he was caught on CCTV on Nov. 17 wiring cash to a cousin of Abaaoud who was to die the next day in the St. Denis shootout.

* Amine Choukri or Monir Ahmed Alaaj, both false identities, was arrested with Saleh Abdeslam, hiding with a family in a house in Molenbeek. Choukri was documented by German police near Ulm as having been in a car with Abdeslam in October. Like Abdeslam, he was charged with “terrorist murder” over the Paris attacks.

* Mehdi Nemmouche, French, killed four people in an attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels on May 24, 2014, after spending 2013 fighting in Syria. Caught in Marseille and extradited, he is now in Bruges high-security prison, as is Salah Abdeslam, who is fighting extradition to France over the Paris attacks.


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