Belgium Released Brussels Attacker Deported Earlier from Turkey, Erdogan Reveals

World | March 23, 2016, Wednesday // 19:43
Bulgaria: Belgium Released Brussels Attacker Deported Earlier from Turkey, Erdogan Reveals Exterior view on the damaged departure hall at Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, Belgium, 23 March 2016. At least 31 people were killed with hundreds injured in terror attacks in Brussels on 22 March. EPA/BGNES

Turkey deported one of the Brussels attackers and alerted the Belgian authorities about him last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

However, Belgium had found no links with terorism of the deportee and released him, Erdogan said at a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Ankara, Turkish news daily Sabah reported on Wednesday.

''The Belgian embassy was notified on July 14, 2015 about the deportation of the attacker, who was later released in Belgium,'' Erdogan said, according to

Erdogan said Belgium had been warned that the attacker caught in Turkey's southeastern Gaziantep province in 2015 was a foreign fighter.

"However, despite our warnings that this person is a foreign terrorist fighter, Belgium failed to detect the terrorist links of this person," the Turkish president said, according to Anadolu Agency.

Erdogan didn't mention the attacker by name.

The Belgian authorities have named two of the suicide bombers who carried out deadly attacks in Brussels on Tuesday as brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui, Belgian nationals.

A third suspected attacker, identified as Najim Laachraoui by the Belgian authorities, is still on the run.

At least 31 people were killed and 230 injured in the terror attacks on Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek metro station in Brussels on Tuesday, according to the latest updates from Belgian authorities.




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Tags: turkey, Belgium, terror, attack, attackers, Zaventem, Brussels, Maelbeek
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