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Cops hunt second bomber as vigil held for Brussels dead

By PA Reporters

A second bomber involved in the Brussels Metro terror attack may be on the run, it is feared.

Belgian police are hunting a man caught on CCTV carrying a bag and walking with jihadist Khalid El Bakraoui shortly before his bomb detonated, according to State broadcaster RTBF and France's Le Monde newspaper.

It comes as security services are already scouring the country for another of the suspected killers, dubbed "the man in white".

Wearing a distinctive black hat and white coat, he was captured on CCTV pushing a trolley through Zaventem Airport with Najim Laachraoui and Khalid's brother Brahim moments before they blew themselves up.

Meanwhile, the family of Brussels-based David Dixon (53), who is originally from Hartlepool and has been missing since the Metro blast, said they were "anxiously waiting" and hoping for "good news" about him.

It has also been reported that the El Bakraoui brothers were plotting an attack on a nuclear power facility, and brought forward the Brussels attacks following the arrest of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam.

The brothers planted a hidden camera in front of the home of the director of research and development at the Belgian nuclear programme, the newspaper La Derniere Heure reported.

The footage showed the nuclear boss's comings and goings and prompted investigators to conclude the terrorists "could have put national security in danger like never before".

Belgian authorities said at least 32 people were killed and 270 injured in the three suicide bomb attacks on Tuesday morning, and warned the death toll could rise.

They also confirmed the attacks, for which IS has claimed responsibility, were linked to the Paris atrocity in November.

Khalid is believed to have used an assumed name to rent a house used as a hideout for the Paris attackers. An international warrant was out for his arrest and police had been searching for him since December.

Home Secretary Theresa May is joining counterparts from the EU for a meeting in Brussels to discuss ways to fight terrorism.

Mrs May said the killings were "cold-blooded, sickening attacks". "Obviously, investigations are still ongoing, but we know that those responsible seek to divide us and harm our way of life," she added.

"We will give Belgium the support it needs but our message is clear: the terrorists will not win."

Downing Street said six UK citizens had been injured in the attacks, four of whom have been discharged from hospital. Two are still receiving treatment.

Yesterday Belgium lowered its alert to the second-highest level but said that another attack was still "likely and possible." Flights to Brussels Airport remain suspended until Monday.

Last night crowds gathered in central London for a special vigil to show solidarity with those affected by the attacks. A 25-metre silk flag was stretched across the central staircase in Trafalgar Square ahead of the vigil, organised by the Mayor of London and the Belgian Embassy.

More than 100 people gathered shortly after 6pm and flowers were laid next to the flag.

Some 32 candles were also lit in memory of the victims who lost their lives in the bomb blasts.

It followed similar tributes that saw landmarks including the National Gallery, Tower Bridge and the London Eye lit up in the red, gold and black tricolour.

Belgian ambassador to the UK Guy Trouveroy said he had mixed emotions at the vigil because despite the tragic events people had come together. "On the one hand we are sad, we hurt," he added. "This is a terrible tragedy that happened to us, but at the same time we have a feeling of conference. We have some time to think about those who passed away, which is why we brought 32 candles representing the 32 people who have lost their lives.

"I think it's important because people are sad, people are lost, people are looking for some form of solidarity.

"Like in Brussels, as we speak thousands of people are getting together, totally unknown to each other, by this grief that they have and by questions they are asking about how on Earth this can happen.

"Hopefully it shows that there is a resilience, there is anger. Maybe not a sense of 'we want revenge' or hatred, but definitely I think a resolve and commitment to fight and make sure that this does not happen again."

Belfast Telegraph


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