Belgium media denied earlier reports that said a third suspect, Najim Laachraoui, in the Brussels attacks has been arrested.
At a Wednesday press conference, Belgium’s top prosecutor Frederic van Leeuw said Laachraoui did not detonate his bomb, which was the largest and potentially most damaging of the three bombs, and remains at large.
A wave of explosions, for which the “Islamic State” (IS) claimed responsibility, rocked Brussels on Tuesday, killing over 30 civilians and injuring at least 200 others in a terrorist attack at the Zaventum Brussels Airport and the Maelbeek metro station.
“The militia of [IS] carried out a series of explosions on Tuesday using bomb belts to target an airport and a metro station in the middle of the Belgian capital,” said the IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency.
According to Belgian authorities, Laachraoui was already being sought by the police for possible connections to the Paris attacks in November 2015 that killed 130. Laachraoui, known as the “chief ISIS bomb maker” according to Belgian media, allegedly travelled to Syria in 2013, similar to other suspects in the Paris attacks.
Two suicide bombers in the Belgium attacks were named by police to be brothers Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui.
An explosive device was found in a raid in the Brussels suburb of Schaarbeek.
French political analyst Gespard Estrada told the Daily News Egypt that terrorism is targeting Belgium because it is considered one of the headquarters of the Western world. “It gathers the EU, and it’s considered one of the symbols of multiculturalism … Those are exactly the objectives of IS,” he said.
A number of world leaders spoke out against the terrorist attack in Brussels and expressed solidarity with the victims and their families.
“Through the attacks in Brussels, the whole of Europe has been hit,” said French president Francois Hollande in a statement. He urged for Europe to take “vital steps in the face of the seriousness of the threat”.
The US president called for solidarity with Belgium following the attacks. “We should stand together to face terrorism without differentiating between race or religion… We are capable of defeating those who threaten peoples’ lives,” said Barack Obama.