Brussels bombers on CCTV
Brussels bombers on CCTVPublic Domain/Wikicommons

Mourad Laachraoui, brother of one of the three Islamic State (ISIS) bombers involved in Tuesday’s devastating attacks in Brussels, visited Israel half a year ago for a sports competition.

According to a report by Yedioth Ahronoth, in September 2015 Mourad Laachraoui traveled to Israel, where he represented Belgium in an international Taekwondo competition.  

Laachraoui’s younger brother Najim was one of two bombers responsible for the attack on the Zaventem Airport on Tuesday. Najim Laachraoui and Ibrahim El Bakraoui both set off bombs concealed in suitcases in the airport waiting lounge, reportedly killing 12 and wounding more than 180.

An hour after the Zaventem attack, El Bakraoui’s brother, Khalid, set off an explosion at a Brussels subway station, killing 19 people.

Najim Laachraoui is believed to be responsible for the manufacture of the bombs used in the attacks. He has been wanted since the ISIS attacks in Paris last November, in which 130 people were murdered.

Mourad disavowed his brother’s actions and expressed sympathy for the victims. He further claimed that neither he nor his family had been in contact with Najim since his trip to Syria three years ago.

This despite the fact that the two brothers lived in close proximity to each other in Brussels.