Brussels suicide bomber Ibrahim El Bakraoui left his mother a message before he carried out his deadly plan on Tuesday. In an audio file left in his laptop, he said he would prefer death over going to prison.
Bakraoui, 29, was one of two brothers who blew themselves up in an attack affiliated with the Islamic State. At least 31 people killed and were 270 wounded after bomb blasts tore through Zaventem Airport and the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels on Tuesday morning. Bakraoui is shown in the center of a CCTV image wheeling his suitcase packed with explosives through the departures hall of Brussels Airport just minutes before the attack.
Local Weekly Paper Officials: Brussels bombers may have rushed attack https://t.co/0ckeVcn0cY pic.twitter.com/0hrNxGX4n3
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Bakraoui was becoming desperate to escape capture, according to an article by the Telegraph. He had dumped his computer in a garbage can on Rue Max Rose, a street in the Schaerbeek neighborhood of Brussels near the terrorists’ bomb-making factory.
“I am always on the move, I don’t know what to do, I’m being hunted everywhere and am no longer safe. If I go on like this [I] will end up in a prison cell next to him.”
“Next to him” alludes to the capture of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam, according to Will McCants, author of The ISIS Apocalypse. McCants told Business Insider by email on Wednesday that the suicide note was an indication of a change in plans. The outlet reports that Abdeslam is thought to have conspired in organizing and planning the Brussels attacks, which were carried out after his arrest.
“The note would confirm the speculation that the attackers moved up the timetable because Abdeslam was arrested.”
Abdeslam’s attorney, Sven Mary, insists that the terrorist knew nothing about the Brussels bombing. The Guardian reports that Sven Mary told journalists outside a Brussels court that his client had no part of Tuesday’s operation.
This was despite the fact that Abdeslam was caught in a dramatic shoot-out, which put a bullet in his leg, just four days prior. Following the Brussels attacks, Abdeslam is no longer cooperating with authorities. He is asking to be extradited to France so he can explain himself to French authorities, his lawyer said.
“Salah Abdeslam told me that he wishes to leave for France as soon as possible. I will ask the investigating magistrate not to oppose his departure.”
Bakraoui’s brother Khalid El Bakraoui, 27, was the suicide bomber who set off explosions in the carriage of a train at Maalbeek metro station a little over an hour after the airport bombings. The blasts killed 20 people.
The two brothers had set up hidden cameras to spy on a nuclear researcher and wanted to build a dirty bomb, according to the Telegraph.
Ibrahim El Bakraoui was deported last year from Turkey, according to Turkish president President Tayyip Erdogan. According to NPR, Belgium had ignored a warning that the man had ties to terrorism.
“One of the attackers in Brussels is an individual we detained in Gaziantep in June 2015 and deported.”
Bakraoui was detained in the southern Turkish province of Gaziantep near the Syrian border and later deported to the Netherlands.
In a Friday warning that was spookily timed, Erdogan said that Europe must be vigilant.
“There is no reason for the bomb, which exploded in Ankara, not to explode in Brussels, where an opportunity to show off in the heart of the city to supporters of the terror organization is presented, or in any city in Europe. Despite this clear reality, European countries are paying no attention, as if they are dancing in a minefield. You can never know when you are stepping on a mine.”
During Tuesday’s raids, Brussels police found 15 kilograms of explosives of the TATP type, 150 liters of acetone, detonators full of nails and screws, plastic bags, ventilators, and several other bomb-making materials.
European security officials identified a third suicide bomber as Najim Laachraoui, a suspected bomb maker for the Paris attacks.
[Photo by STR/AP]