The terror cell that bombed Brussels airport and the city’s subway may have planned to target one of Belgium’s nuclear sites and had gathered surveillance footage of the home of a senior nuclear director which was filmed by the El Bakraoui brothers — identified as two of the suicide bombers behind the deadly attacks earlier this week.
An earlier February raid on the Brussels home of arrested terror suspect Mohamed Bakkali’s wife turned up over 10 hours of video showing the Flanders home of the Research and Development director of the Belgian Nuclear Program, the daily Derniere Heure reported Thursday.
The footage was filmed on a camera hidden in bushes opposite the home, and was recovered by two men who drove off in a car without the lights on.
Those men have been identified as Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui who took part in the Tuesday attacks on the airport and the Maalbeek metro station, which killed 31 people and injured over 150 others, the report said.
Their names were not published at the time due to the ongoing investigation.
After investigators examining the footage last month made the connection between the subject of the video and the nuclear program, security was beefed up at French and Belgian nuclear sites with army units being drafted in to provide additional protection.
Ibrahim El Bakraoui was identified as one of at least two suicide bombers who targeted the Brussels airport. Authorities Thursday stepped up the manhunt for a third airport attacker, seen wearing a hat and white jacket on CCTV footage from Zaventem departure hall, whose explosive-packed suitcase failed to go off with the two other suicide bombers.
Khalid El Bakraoui blew himself up at the Maalbeek subway station killing 20 people. Local media, citing unnamed sources, said a second suspect was filmed by surveillance cameras in the metro station carrying a large bag alongside Bakraoui.
Bakkali, who had rented the Brussels apartment where the video footage was found, is being held on suspicion of terrorist activity and involvement in the November 13 2015 Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people.
The three identified suspects behind the twin assaults in Brussels have also been linked to the Paris attacks last November.