1 Dead, Explosions Heard In Brussels Counterterror Raid

Brussels Counterterror Raid
People are searched before entering the underground station De Brouckere in Brussels on March 24. Tuesday, the Islamic States detonated bomb at the Brussels airport and the Maelbeek subway station, killing dozens. Officials confirmed at least two Americans died in the attack. Photo by Albert Masias/ UPI

BRUSSELS, March 25 (UPI) — At least one person died Friday after at least three explosions during a police raid of a home in Brussels in response to the terror attacks that killed dozens earlier in the week.

Authorities said police raided a man’s home in the borough of Schaerbeek and possibly found explosives. The suspect was allegedly linked to the double bomb blasts at Belgium’s airport or the blast an hour later at a downtown metro station that left a total of 31 people dead and 300 injured Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in a news conference Friday with Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel, confirmed Americans died in the attacks but didn’t say how many. Unnamed officials said two U.S. nationals died but have not identified them.

At least four Americans in Brussels have not been seen since the attack, including Justin and Stephanie Shults, who have been living in Belgium since 2014.

Kerry arrived in Brussels on Friday to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Michel and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders as well as Belgium’s King Philippe. They are expected to discuss counterterrorism efforts.

At the same time, the manhunt for suspects in the attacks continues. Ten people have been arrested in three European countries in connection to the the coordinated attacks so far. Seven have been detained in Brussels, two in Germany and one in France.

Authorities said Najim Laachraoui, also a suspect in the deadly attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 — was a bomb maker in the Brussels attacks. Laachraoui and brothers Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui have been identified as suicide bombers in the Brussels attack. Ibrahim el-Bakraoui and Laachraoui died at the Brussels Airport, while Khalid died in the blast at the Maelbeek train station.

Another unidentified suspect in the airport bombing was seen on surveillance camera running away from the scene. A possible fifth suspect may have been involved in the train blast.

Earlier in the week, police in Brussels said they were searching for Laachraoui after his DNA was allegedly found in safe houses used to hide suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam. Abdeslam — who is implicated in the November attacks in Paris that killed 130 people — was arrested March 18.

Also Friday, authorities announced they foiled a terrorist attack in the works by raiding a suspect’s home in a Paris suburb. Investigators said they found “an arsenal” of weapons in Reda Kriket’s home, including TATP or triacetone triperoxide explosives. Officials suspect TATP was used in the Brussels attacks.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for both attacks.


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