Police arrest third airport terrorist suspect

Summary

After releasing new video footage last week, police have arrest Mohammed Abrini, though to be the third and final terrorist suspect from the Brussels Airport bombings in March

“The man in the hat”

Police have arrested Mohamed Abrini, who is thought to be the suspect who has come to be known as “the man in the hat”, the third suspect in the terrorist bombings at Brussels Airport on 22 March.

New video footage was released last week of one of the suspects fleeing the airport after the other two suicide bombs went off. Police suspect Abrini as being this suspect, who abandoned his explosives and left the scene.

Abrini’s arrest on Friday was one of six that took place in the Brussels area over the weekend. He was picked up in Anderlecht, along with two others, whose identities have not been revealed.

Abrini was already sought in connection with the November attacks in Paris, after he drove Salah Abdeslam – now in prison in Bruges – to the French capital two days before the attacks. The car later turned up close to the scene of the suicide bombings at the Stade de France where Abdeslam’s brother, Brahim, blew himself up.

It has been reported that trace evidence of Abrini was found in the Schaarbeek house from where the bombers took a taxi to the airport, and where they are thought to have constructed the bombs.

Among the other five men arrested at the weekend was Osama Krayem, who was seen on security footage in contact with Khalid El-Bakraoui at Petillon metro station. Bakraoui then went on to blow himself up at Maalbeek metro station about an hour after the airport bombings.

The name Osama Krayem is an alias used by Naim Al Ahmed, who may also be the man seen in City 2 shopping centre buying sports bags that were later used to contain the bombs used at the airport.

Krayem’s arrest was the result of a tip from the Swedish intelligence services, who picked up a phone call he made to is younger brother Anas, who they had under surveillance. The service passed the information to their Belgian counterparts, and the arrest happened the same day.

Photo: Police officers carried out arrests across Brussels at the weekend related to the 22 March terrorist attacks
©Dursun Aydemir