One of the bombers involved in the deadly attacks in Brussels last month once worked as a cleaner at the European Parliament, officials reportedly said Thursday. The news comes as Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel admitted that the attacks claimed by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, represented a security “failure.”
The EU Parliament said that the bomber who blew himself up during the attacks, along with his partner, worked as a cleaner in 2009 and 2010. Officials did not mention the name of the attacker, but sources say he is Najim Laachraoui, one of the airport bombers, according to BBC. The parliament reportedly said that the cleaning firm had provided proof that the person hired for the job had no criminal record at the time.
“As required by the contract, the cleaning firm submitted proof of the absence of a criminal record to the European Parliament,” the statement reportedly said.
Laachraoui, one of the suspects on the run after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people, was one of the two bombers who attacked the Zaventem airport on March 22. The Brussels attacks, which came just days after the prime suspect in the Paris attacks was captured, claimed lives of 32 people.
The Belgian prime minister on Wednesday commented on the security in Brussels, and also dismissed notions that his country was a “failed state.”
"When there is an attack like that of course that's a failure and nobody can deny this," Michel told reporters in Brussels, according to Agence France-Presse. But "I cannot accept the idea that we're a failed state."
The country has tightened security in the aftermath of the deadly attacks. Michel reportedly said that 30 measures were being put in place, including a ban on pre-paid mobile phone cards.
Michel also lashed out at criticism from France, the United States and others, over the country's failure to capture Salah Abdeslam — the main suspect in the Paris attacks — for four months since the attacks.
“Some people said it was scandalous to take a few months to arrest Salah Abdeslam ... For Bin Laden, sought by all police throughout the world, it was 10 years after Sept. 11 and 3,000 deaths in New York,” Michel reportedly said, referring to al Qaeda leader’s killing by U.S. special forces in Pakistan in 2011.
Belgian police are still looking for a third suspect, who has not been identified, over links to the Brussels attacks. The suspect has been dubbed "the man in the hat," who was seen in surveillance footage next to the two airport bombers.