brussels, belgium explosion

Authorities on the Hunt for Brussels Suspects, FBI Sends Help

Belgian authorities are still on the hunt for the third suspect in the bombing at Zaventem Airport in Belgium’s capital Tuesday. 

Three suspects were filmed walking through the airport–29-year-old Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, 24-year-old ISIS bomb maker, Najim Laachraoui, a Belgian citizen of Moroccan descent, and an unknown male. Najim and Ibrahim are presumed dead, while the third man caught on security footage has not been identified and his whereabouts are unknown.

The 35-pound bomb on this man did not detonate when the others did and was later destroyed by authorities using a controlled explosion. Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw has said this bomb was even larger than the ones that did explode, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, beneath the city, two suspects were allegedly involved in bombing a metro train near the Maelbeek station. Authorities believe two terrorists carried out this attack–Khalid El Bakraoui, brother of Ibrahim, who died in the suicide attack, and a second, unnamed person whose fate and whereabouts are still unknown.

Surveillance footage shows this unknown man holding a large bag at the Maelbeek station, according to Belgian public broadcaster RTBF. It's not clear if he was among the 20 people killed in the blast.

The CNN graphic below illustrates each suspect and his fate.

 

America’s Response

President Barack Obama, in Cuba on a foreign trip at the time, said the U.S. "will do whatever is necessary to support" Belgium.

"This is yet another reminder that the world must unite. We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism," he said at the top of a speech more broadly focused on Cuba.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the attacks were "an appalling assault on the people of Belgium ... and every nation that stands for peace and the rule of law."

"The Department of Justice is in contact with our counterparts in Belgium and we have offered any and all assistance that we can bring to bear," Lynch said in a statement. "In the days ahead, we will continue to work with law enforcement abroad in order to help ensure those responsible are brought to justice."

A few hours after the simultaneous bombings, the U.S. State Department issued a Travel Advisory urging U.S. citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to and from Europe due to potential risks.

“Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation,” the statement reads. “European governments continue to guard against terrorist attacks and conduct raids to disrupt plots. We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats.”

The FBI has sent a "fly team" from its New York field office to assist Belgian authorities in their investigation of the terror attacks in Brussels, a law enforcement source told Fox News Wednesday. In addition, they will send an Evidence Response Team from the FBI Lab in Quantico, Virginia. These specialized teams are considered some of the best forensics teams in the world. 

 

By Brionne Griffin, FEDagent 

Posted in General News

Tags: FBI, DHS, terror attacks, terrorism, Department of State, travel regulations, Brussels

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