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Hunt for Suspects in Brussels Attacks

2016-3-23

Belgian security forces are continuing to search for a man seen with two suicide bombers in the airport and metro attacks in Brussels, Belgium.

At least 31 people were killed and 271 wounded. The Islamic State terrorist group is claiming responsibility for the attacks. A U.S. official told VOA there is no reason to doubt the claim.

Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw confirmed that two of the attackers were brothers -- Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui.

A woman and children sit and mourn for the victims of the bombings at the Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
A woman and children sit and mourn for the victims of the bombings at the Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

On Tuesday, Belgian police released a photograph of three men taken from closed-circuit television at the airport. Van Leeuw said Ibrahim and an unidentified man, both wearing dark clothing, died in the airport attacks.

Security forces are now looking for the third person in the photo. The man was wearing a white jacket with a black hat.

Earlier, Belgian media reported the man was 25-year-old Najim Laachraoui and that he had been arrested. The report was later withdrawn, and Van Leeuw confirmed no one has been arrested in connection with the attacks.

Van Leew said Ibrahim also left a will in a trash can at the airport. And Khalid, the other brother, was the suicide bomber on a metro train at the Maelbeek station.

Belgian broadcaster RTBF says the el-Bakraoui brothers were known to police and had criminal records, but no history of terrorist activity. It said Khalid el-Bakraoui used a false name to rent an apartment in Brussels that police raided last week.

They also found weapons and a fingerprint for Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the deadly bombings in Paris November 13. He was arrested Friday.

Moment of silence

On Wednesday, people in Brussels honored the victims of the bombings with a minute of silence. Then, they began clapping in a defiant show of solidarity. One person yelled "Long live the Belgians!" which caused more clapping.

Officials said there would be no flights into or out of the airport at least through Thursday. In a statement, they said "until we can assess the damage, we are unable to confirm when operations at the airport can be resumed."

I'm Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Lisa Bryant and William Gallo reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

will – n. a legal document in which a person states who should receive his or her possessions after he or she dies

closed-circuit – adj. used to describe a television system that sends its signal through wires to a limited number of televisions

metro – n. the name often given to a city's underground train system, also called a subway