Belgians hunt IS suspect

Belgians hunt IS suspect


Belgian police are hunting an Islamic State suspect seen with two supposed suicide bombers shortly before they struck Brussels Airport in the first of two attacks that also hit the city’s metro, killing at least 30 and wounding over 200.The blasts on Tuesday claimed by the Syrian-based militants four days after the arrest in Brussels of a prime suspect in November’s Paris attacks, sent shockwaves across Europe and around the world, with authorities racing to review security at airports and transit systems, and drawing an outpouring of solidarity.”We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world,” said US President Barack Obama. Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination to succeed Obama in November’s election, suggested suspects could be tortured to avert such attacks.Brussels police mounted an operation in the north of the city, turning up another bomb, an Islamic State flag and bomb-making chemicals in an apartment in the borough of Schaerbeek.Local media said authorities had followed a tip from a taxi driver who believed he may have driven the bombers to the airport.Investigators said they were focussing on a man in a hat who was caught on CCTV pushing a laden baggage trolley at the airport with two others they believed were the bombers.

An unused explosive device was later found at the airport and a man was seen running away from the terminal after the explosions.Security experts believed the blasts, which killed about 20 on a metro train running through the area that houses European Union institutions, were probably in preparation before Friday’s arrest of locally based French national Salah Abdeslam, 26, whom prosecutors accuse of a key role in the Nov 13 Paris attacks.He was caught and has been speaking to investigators after a shootout at an apartment in the south of the city a week ago, after which another Islamic State flag and explosives were found. It was unclear whether he had knowledge of the new attack or whether accomplices may have feared police were closing in.Islamic State said in a statement that “caliphate soldiers, strapped with suicide vests and carrying explosive devices and machineguns” struck Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station.It was not clear, however, that the attackers used vests. The suspects were photographed pushing bags on trolleys, and witnesses said many of the airport dead and wounded were hit mostly in the legs, possibly indicating blasts at floor level.


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