ISIS Ex-Hostages Identify Brussels Suicide Bomber as Captor

This is the same fellow who worked at the Brussels airport for five years. It will be interesting to learn whether he took his vacations in Syria, held western journalists captive there, and then returned to work.  NYTimes:

PARIS — Najim Laachraoui, one of the two suicide bombers who attacked Brussels Airport last month, has been identified by former Islamic State hostages as one of their captors in Syria, a lawyer for several of the hostages said on Friday.

Marie-Laure Ingouf, a lawyer for Nicolas Hénin and Pierre Torres, two of the four French journalists who were first detained in 2013 by the Islamic State in Syria, said that the former hostages had identified one of their captors as Mr. Laachraoui, who used the name Abu Idris at the time.

In the latest issue of the Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq, Mr. Laachraoui was identified by the nom de guerre Abu Idris al-Baljiki.



Najim Laachraoui Credit Interpol

Mr. Henin, Mr. Torres and two other French journalists, Didier François and Edouard Elias, were freed in April 2014 after 10 months of captivity in Syria.

Ms. Ingouf declined to say whether the former hostages recognized Mr. Laachraoui in photographs that were published after the attacks in Brussels on March 22 that left 32 civilians dead and 340 wounded.

Mr. Laachraoui was one of the two suicide bombers at Brussels Airport; a third detonated explosives at the Maelbeek subway station later that same morning. Seven others believed to be involved in the attacks are in custody.

Investigators believe that Mr. Laachraoui, a 24-year-old engineering student who dropped out of college, manufactured explosives used not just in the Brussels bombings but also in the November attacks in the Paris area, which left 130 dead.

Mr. Henin had previously revealed that one of their most brutal and sadistic captors was Mehdi Nemmouche, a Frenchman with links to the Islamic State who had killed four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.