UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. EDT – Brussels terror attack suspect Najim Laachraoui who was earlier reported as being at large, was identified as one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up Tuesday at Zaventem Airport, Agence France-Presse reported.
Laachraoui was identified by at DNA test along with Ibrahim el-Bakraoui as two of the three airport attackers. A third suspect who participated in the airport bombing remains at large and authorities have not released his name. The fourth suspect Khalid el-Bakraoui died during the attack the Maelbeek metro station in central Brussels.
Laachraoui’s DNA was also found on explosives used in November 13 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead. Prosecutors said Laachraoui travelled to Syria in 2013.
UPDATE: 6:26 a.m. EDT — Belgian prosecutors Monday identified a new accomplice in last year’s terror attacks in Paris as 24-year-old Najim Laachraoui, known by the alias Soufiane Kayal.
Earlier, authorities reportedly said that at least three people with close links to the Islamic State group assisted prime suspect Salah Abdeslam before and after the Paris attacks. Laachraoui is reportedly one of those three men.
"The investigation showed that Soufiane Kayal can be identified as Najim Laachraoui, born on May 18, 1991, and who travelled to Syria in February 2013," prosecutors reportedly said, in a statement in Brussels.
Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam was preparing attacks in Brussels before he was captured Friday in a police raid in the Belgian capital, officials said Sunday. The fugitive is a prime suspect in last November’s attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said that Abdeslam’s arrest yielded crucial insight into how he used local connections to hide in Brussels for four months. The 26-year-old French national, born in Belgium, is being interrogated after prosecutors formally charged him Saturday with involvement in terrorist murder.
"He was ready to restart something in Brussels," Reynders told the German Marshall Fund of the United States meeting in the city. "And it's maybe the reality because we have found a lot of weapons, heavy weapons, in the first investigations and we have found a new network around him in Brussels."
Reynders said the French-Belgian investigation has found more than 30 people involved in the Paris attacks — which were claimed by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS — adding: “But we are sure there are others.”
The investigation into the Paris attacks so far suggest that fighters trained in Syria could contact local sympathizers’ networks to prepare new strikes, officials reportedly said, adding that they are searching for at least one Syria-trained fighter who was an accomplice of Abdeslam.
“People are coming over from Syria constantly,” Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said in a televised interview Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported. “They are unknown to us; often they haven’t been to Europe before. That’s a challenge we face: the cooperation between local networks that are very integrated and people who are trained and come from the Middle East.”
Belgian authorities said that at least three people with close links to ISIS assisted Abdeslam before and after the Paris attacks. One of the men is dead, and a second has been captured, while a third — known by the alias Soufiane Kayal — remains at large, the Journal reported.
French officials have also reportedly reinforced border security and warned Interpol over concerns that those helping Abdeslam may try to flee across frontiers now that he is in custody.
Abdeslam, who is suspected of helping transport three suicide bombers to the Stade de France, where they blew themselves up, and is also believed to have purchased the detonators, is being held in a high-security prison in Brussels. France has reportedly issued a new European arrest warrant for Abdeslam in order to speed up his extradition from Belgium.
A French prosecutor said Saturday that Abdeslam had planned to blow himself up during the Paris attacks but backed out at the last minute. Following the revelation, Abdeslam’s lawyer threatened Sunday to sue prosecutor François Molins for violating confidentiality by making the details of the probe public.