Bombmaker Najim Laachraoui Caught? Conflicting Reports Follow Brussels Terror Attack

Has bomb-maker Najim Laachraoui been captured? On Wednesday, the world woke up to conflicting reports about the 24-year-old man believed to have had involvement in the terror attacks in Paris and possibly in Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels.

According to the CNBC, police have identified one of the three men pictured in a still of surveillance footage from Brussels airport. They believe that the man in the middle is Ibrahim el-Bakraoui. The Belgian prosecutor said that fingerprints found at the scene link Ibrahim directly to Tuesday’s airport bombing.

Ibrahim el-Bakraoui’s brother, Khalid, has been identified as the suicide bomber at the Metro station in Brussels. He is not believed to be one of the three men pictured above. One of the men, likely the one on the left, is believed to have died in the airport blasts, but has not yet been identified. The man on the right is believed to have escaped, as his luggage bomb was found undetonated. A manhunt is currently underway.

As for Najim Laachraoui, there seems to be a lot of confusion floating around the internet today. Some outlets are reporting that he is the third man in the photo above. Some are saying that he has been detained by police. Others claim that Najim is on the run.

“Several Belgian media news outlets reported early Wednesday that Najim Laachraoui, who they identified as one of the suspected attackers at the airport, was detained in Brussels. Belgian prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt denied this,” reports the Huffington Post.

No matter which report is right, there seems to be one main understanding: Najim Laachraoui is a very dangerous man. If he is captured, it would put a major dent in many upcoming terror plots. It is widely believed that Laachraoui is the main man when it comes to making bombs. Some say that he has already made a bunch of bombs and that he just needs suicide bombers to carry out further attacks.

Najim Laachraoui traveled to Syria in 2013. Authorities believe that he is very skilled in bomb-making and that he made the explosive devices used in the Paris attacks. How do they know that he had involvement? His DNA was found on suicide belts used in Paris at the Bataclan Theatre and the Stade de France.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Najim Laachraoui was seen with Paris bombers Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Belkaid in September, just two months before the deadly attack in France.

Four days after the Paris terror attacks, Laachraoui was picked up on CCTV with Belkaid at a Western Union Bank in Brussels.

Najim Laachraoui may be pictured in the CCTV photo from the airport, but that seems unlikely as the terror group wouldn’t want to sacrifice their chief bombmaker. That third luggage bomb that was found undetonated could contain some evidence by way of DNA that might link Laachraoui to the Brussels terror attack. That piece of evidence — which was set off in a controlled environment — could be key to this investigation.

Another major component in this investigation is the information that authorities received from a cab driver who recognized the three men in the CCTV photo as they had been in his cab earlier that day. The man gave police the address where he picked the men up from, and authorities spent hours sweeping that apartment, this according to CNN. Several items were removed from the Schaerbeek home including “a nail bomb, chemical products and an ISIS flag.”

It is unclear if any DNA from Najim Laachraoui was found.

[Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images]