Brussels terror attacks: ‘Two brothers’ behind Belgium bombings

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(BBC) – Two of the men who carried out the deadly terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday have been named by Belgian media as the brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui.

Two brotehrs
The two brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui

Broadcaster RBTF quoted a police source as saying Brahim was a suicide bomber at Zaventem airport in Brussels, Belgium. The twin explosions there killed about 14 people. It said Khalid was the suicide bomber at the Maelbeek metro station, where about 20 people died.

Belgium is observing three days of national mourning. The nation held a minute’s silence earlier today. So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it was behind the attacks and warned that more would follow.

‘Steadily growing’ threat

“The attacks in Brussels epitomise a steadily growing terrorist threat to Europe increasingly shaped by militants linked to so-called Islamic State (IS),” Petter Nesser, author of Islamist Terrorism in Europe: A History tells the BBC.

“The terrorists belong to the new generation of jihadis in Europe, mobilised by the Syria war… the Belgian branch was particularly effective in sending foreign fighters to Syria.”

He adds: “Many of the European terrorists now flagged as IS were part of al-Qaeda affiliated networks a short while ago. Al-Qaeda has tried to launch similar operations as those in France and Belgium, without success”

He says more attacks are likely. “With up to 6,000 European fighters in the Middle East, increased terrorist funding, more sophisticated propaganda and recruitment, and communications encryption tools, European security services face enormous capacity challenges.”

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