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Brussels attacks suspect Najim Laachraoui 'arrested in Anderlecht pizzeria
March 23, 2016, 1:59 pm
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The suspected Isis bomb maker believed to be behind the terror attacks that killed more than 30 people in Brussels has reportedly been arrested in a pizzeria.

La Derniere Heure quoted anonymous police sources saying that Najim Laachraoui had been detained by armed police Anderlecht on Wednesday morning. Journalists from De Tijd and EenVandaag subsequently claimed he was found at a pizza restaurant but the report has not been confirmed.

A suspicious pizza order allegedly alerted police to Salah Abdeslam's wherabouts last week, while empty pizza boxes were also found littering hotel rooms used by the Paris attackers to prepare for November's massacres.

There was no immediate confirmation of Laachraoui's arrest from Belgian authorities but the country's federal prosecutor announced a press conference within minutes of the report's publication.

Laachraoui was captured on CCTV at Brussels Airport with two suspected attackers, pushing a luggage trolley while wearing a distinctive white coat and hat.

He was believed to be the only suspect remaining on the run following Tuesday's attacks, where brothers Khalid and el-Brahim Bakraoui died in bombings at Brussels airport and Maalbeek Metro station.

Under his alias Soufiane Kayal, the 25-year-old had been wanted for months as a suspected bomb maker linked to the Paris attacks after his DNA was found alongside that of the terrorists who carried out the massacres at a safe house where traces of explosives and suicide belts were found.

He also rented one of the hide-outs, in Auvelais, where the cell prepared for the massacres that would kill 130 people in the French capital.

Laachraoui was picked up in Budapest by Salah Abdeslam, possibly making his way back from Syria, on 9 September alongside Mohamed Belkaid, the 35-year-old Algerian killed by police in Forest on 15 March.

The net has been tightening on the remaining accomplices following Belkaid's death and Abdeslam's eventual arrest on Friday and there was speculation that Tuesday's attacks were either an act of revenge or the fulfilment of plots Abdeslam claimed had already been hatched.

The airport explosions, followed little over an hour later by another blast at a Metro station, left at least 31 dead and 250 wounded.

Source: The Independent

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