Najim Laachraoui: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Najim Laachraoui

Najim Laachraoui. (Belgian Federal Police)

An ISIS bombmaker suspected in the November 2015 Paris attacks has been identified as one of the suicide bombers who was killed at the Brussels Airport on Tuesday.

It was initially believed that the man, Najim Laachraoui, was on the run, but the Belgian media now reports that died in the attacks.

The 24-year-old man, who has also used the name Soufiane Kayal, was wanted by authorities in connection with the Paris attacks. He is believed to be part of the same ISIS terror cell that carried out those attacks last November. One of the leaders of that group, Salah Abdeslam, was arrested last week in Brussels.

Brothers Khalid and Brahim El Bakraoui have been identified as the suspects believed to have been killed during the attacks after detonating suicide bombs in the airport and at a metro station.

A fourth man seen in surveillance footage remains unidentified and at large. Police initially believed that man was Laachraoui.

More than 30 people were killed and at least 200 others were injured in a series of blasts in the Belgian capital Tuesday morning. The first two bombings happened at the airport, with the third occurring about an hour later on a train in a metro station.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. His DNA Was Reportedly Found on Explosives Used in the Paris Attacks

Najim Laachraoui is believed to have been an accomplice of Salah Abdeslam, one of the men suspected of planning and carrying out the Paris terror attacks in November 2015.

According to AFP, Laachraoui’s DNA was found on explosives used in those attacks.

His DNA was also found at two homes in Belgium that were searched by authorities in the months after the Paris attacks, the New York Times reports.

During one of the searches, police found traces of TATP, which the Times reports has become the signature explosive for ISIS. It can be made using household products and was found in suicide vests used in the Paris attacks, according to the Times.

Authorities had been searching for Laachraoui since at least last week, when Abdeslam was arrested in Brussels.

Abdeslam reportedly told authorities that he and others were in the process of planning more attacks before his arrest.


2. He Was Born in Morocco & Raised in Brussels, Where He Studied Electromechanical Engineering

Brussels terror attack airport

People are seen walking near the shattered glass facade of the departure hall of Brussels Airport in Zaventem following twin blasts on March 22, 2016.
(Getty)

Laachraoui was born in Morocco and raised in Brussels, the Belgian media reports.

He appears to have studied electromechanical engineering at a Catholic high school in Schaerbeek, according to the New York Times.


3. He Traveled to Syria in 2013 & Recently Traveled Abroad With Salah Abdeslam, Authorities Say

Najim Laachraoui

(Belgian Federal Police)

Laachraoui traveled to Syria in 2013, according to CNN.

He traveled abroad as recently as September 2015 with Salah Abdeslam, and used his false name of Soufiane Kayal at the border between Hungary and Austria, AFP reports.


4. Two Brothers Wanted After a Raid Last Week Are Suspected to Have Blown Themselves Up During the Attack

Brothers Khalid and Brahim El Bakraoui, 27 and 30, are believed to be the men seen on surveillance footage with Laachraoui at the Brussels airport before the bombing. They are suspected of blowing themselves up while detonating bombs concealed in suitcases.

The brothers were wanted after a deadly anti-terror raid on an apartment in the Forest-Vorst section of Brussels just last week, DH.be reported.
The apartment was being rented by Khalid El Bakraoui, according to media reports in Belgium. The brothers escaped from the raid after a shootout.

An Algerian immigrant with ties to ISIS was killed by police during the shootout.


5. Police Found a Nail-Filled Bomb, Chemicals & an ISIS Flag in a Raid on an Apartment After the Bombings

Police officers carry out searches in a building in Schaerbeek on March 22, 2016, following triple bomb attacks in Brussels that killed about 35 people and left more than 200 people wounded. (Getty)

Police officers carry out searches in a building in Schaerbeek on March 22, 2016, following triple bomb attacks in Brussels that killed about 35 people and left more than 200 people wounded. (Getty)

The so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

In a statement issued through its media service, ISIS said:

Islamic State fighters carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices on Tuesday, targeting an airport and a central metro station in the center of the Belgian capital Brussels, a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State.

A fourth man is still at large. Police have not identified him, but released this photo of him:

Police are searching for this man in connection to the airport bombings.

Police are searching for this man in connection to the airport bombings.

Belgian federal prosecutors said investigators found an explosive device containing nails, “chemical products” and an ISIS flag during a raid after the bombings, the Associated Press reports.

Authorities were led to the apartment by a taxi driver who drove the three men to the airport, without knowing of their plan. The taxi driver contacted police after the bombing.


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