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Homeland Security

Belgium Issues New Appeal in Quest for Brussels Airport Suspect

by Aline Barros April 07, 2016

Belgian prosecutors have issued a new appeal for help in finding the suspected third attacker in last month's deadly Brussels airport bombings.

New photos and video of the so-called "man in the hat" show the suspect leaving the airport on foot after the blasts and going into central Brussels. Along the way he is seen discarding a white jacket he was wearing.

An earlier picture released showed the man in the departure hall of the Brussels airport, walking with two other men, Najim Laachraoui and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, who later blew themselves up.

EU officials revealed this week that one of the suicide bombers airport blasts worked as a janitor at the European Parliament in the summer months of 2009 and 2010. News reports said it was Laachraoui.

EU Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch Guillot did not name the individual but said that he did not have a criminal record at the time.

"As a student, he held a summer holiday job cleaning at the parliament for one month in 2009 and one in 2010," Guillot said. "As required by the contract, the cleaning firm submitted proof of the absence of a criminal record".

The March 22 bombings at the Brussels airport and a suicide blast in the city's metro system killed 32 people.

Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel said Wednesday the country made mistakes in handling violent extremism.

"In the fight against terrorism, in all countries in the world and in Europe, there have been successes and the have been failures," Michel said. But he rejected the idea that Belgium has become a "weak link" in the fight against terrorism.

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