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Briton confirmed among the dead from Tuesday's attacks as police shoot two suspects in leg during Brussels raids

By Catherine Wylie

A British man has been confirmed dead following the terror attacks in Brussels.

The family of David Dixon (50), who was originally from Hartlepool but was living in the Belgian capital, said they had received "the most terrible and devastating news".

At least 32 people were killed and 270 injured when suicide bombs ripped through an airport and a Metro station on Tuesday morning.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office on behalf of Mr Dixon's family said: "This morning we received the most terrible and devastating news about our beloved David. At this most painful time our family would gratefully appreciate it if we could be left alone to grieve in private. Please respect our wishes."

The Foreign Office said officials knew of seven British nationals who were injured in the attacks, with three still being treated in hospital.

Mr Dixon, an IT programmer, had been missing since the Metro blast, and his family previously said that they were "anxiously waiting" and hoping for some "good news" about him.

Meanwhile, police in Brussels raided neighbourhoods in an operation the mayor said was linked to both the airport and subway bombings and to the arrest in the Paris suburbs of a man who may have been plotting a new attack in France.

Three people were detained, with two of them shot in the leg, the federal prosecutor's office said. The operation was conducted in the Schaerbeek district, which was raided on Thursday night, as well as the neighbourhoods of Forest and Saint-Gilles.

Belgium's state broadcaster said one person was carrying a bag of explosive material.

The area remained cordoned off even after heavily-armed officers had left, a resident said. Three of six people detained on Thursday in the investigation have been released, prosecutors said.

On the third and final day of national mourning for Tuesday's attacks, Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel missed a wreath-laying ceremony at the airport with US Secretary of State John Kerry because of the police raids.

Mr Kerry, in a hastily-arranged visit, defended Belgium's counter-terrorism efforts despite a series of security and intelligence failings in the run-up to the bombings on Tuesday.

Confirming that several FBI agents were involved in the investigation, Mr Kerry said the "carping" about Belgium's shortcomings "is a little bit frantic and inappropriate".

Members of Belgium's embattled government are facing criticism over its counter-terrorism efforts since and before the November 13 Paris attacks, which authorities believe were plotted from Belgium.

Mr Kerry also said the US and other countries had already scheduled meetings with Belgium prior to the attacks about improvements they could make to their laws, intelligence collection and attempts to blunt the radicalisation of youth.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris and Brussels, and Mr Kerry lashed out at the extremist group.

"We will not be deterred," the US Secretary of State said.

"We will come back with greater resolve, with greater strength, and we will not rest until we have eliminated your nihilistic beliefs and cowardice from the face of the Earth."

Authorities also announced that American, British, Chinese, French and Dutch citizens were among the dead.

Belfast Telegraph


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