Written by Tharushan Fernando
24 Mar, 2016 | 10:35 am
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that one of the attackers in the Brussels suicide bombings was deported last year from Turkey, and Belgium subsequently ignored a warning that the man was a militant.
Erdogan’s office later identified the man as Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the two brothers named by Belgium as responsible for the attacks that killed at least 31 people in Brussels on Tuesday and were claimed by the Islamic State group.
Speaking at a news conference, Erdogan said Bakraoui was detained in the southern Turkish province of Gaziantep near the Syrian border and was later deported to the Netherlands.
Erdogan’s office confirmed that Bakraoui was deported to the Netherlands. It said he was then handed over to Belgium but was later released by Belgian authorities as “no links with terrorism” were found. It was not clear when Bakraoui was handed over to Belgian authorities.
Two other attackers have yet to be named. One died, another is on the run.
Brahim el-Bakraoui blew himself up in the attack at Zaventem airport that killed 11 people while Khalid struck at Maelbeek metro, where 20 people died, prosecutors said.
Unconfirmed reports say another of the attackers was the wanted jihadist Najim Laachraoui, who is thought to have links with last year’s attacks in Paris
According to Belgian health Minster Maggie de Block,out of around 300 wounded people, 61 were still in a critical condition, and suggested that the death toll could rise further
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