Before the smoke cleared after Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgian authorities were on the hunt for whoever might be responsible for killing 34 people and injuring 200 more in a series of coordinated suicide bombings. Several arrests were made and raids were conducted the same day, causing state officials and reporters alike to scramble for answers while more details haphazardly came to the fore. Investigators released a photo of three men taken from an airport security camera suspected of involvement in the hopes that the public would be able to help identify them. According to several outlets, at least two of the men pictured have been identified.
The Associated Press reported that, according to Belgian state broadcaster RTBF, two of the attackers were brothers named Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui. The report also claimed that Khalid’s apartment was raided by police a week prior as part of the sting that led to the capture of the last remaining Paris suspect, Salah Abdeslam. However, no sources or confirmation were provided until Wednesday morning, when Federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw identified Khalid, 27, and Ibrahim, 29, as two of the suicide bombers responsible for Tuesday’s attacks. The first triggered the deadly blast at the Maelbeek subway station, while the second was one of three men captured on camera at the airport.
They were first tipped off to the brothers’ involvement when the cab driver who took them to the airport recognized them in the distributed photo. Per the Guardian, that information led investigators to Khalid and Ibrahim, as well as to the Schaerbeek neighborhood where the older brother left a computer with a will on it in a trash can. Van Leeuw revealed that, aside from the will, Ibrahim included a note in which he said “he felt increasingly unsafe and feared landing in prison.”