Smelled ammonia, spoke about USA: Brussels bombers’ taxi driver
The taxi driver who drove the Brussels suicide bombers to the airport revealed details about his journey with the terrorists on Thursday.world Updated: Mar 25, 2016 07:59 IST
The taxi driver who drove the Brussels suicide bombers to the airport revealed details about his journey with the terrorists on Thursday.
Brahim El Bakraoui and two other men suspected of carrying out the attack on Tuesday travelled from the Brussels district of Schaerbeek to the airport in a taxi.
A man wearing a hat and light-coloured jacket did chat with the taxi driver, talking about his anger towards the United States and how he disagreed with some of its actions, Belgian newspaper DH reported.
A bespectacled man wearing a cream jacket and black hat ran out of the airport terminal, federal prosecutors said, before a third suitcase bomb exploded in the departures area as bomb disposal experts were clearing the area, causing no casualties. The man, captured on film with the suicide bombers, is being sought by police.
DH said the taxi driver smelled ammonia during the journey and when he dropped the men off at the airport noticed their bags had traces of white powder on them.
The taxi driver was not allowed to touch their explosives-laden bags when he dropped them off near the airport.
DH earlier reported that a mix-up by a Brussels taxi dispatcher meant a small car was sent to pick up the bombers instead of the minivan they had ordered and the passengers were forced to leave one bag behind.
He heard about the explosions while driving his next passenger and immediately went to the police, it said. He led the police to a house on Rue Max Roos, in the Schaerbeek neighbourhood of Brussels, where he said he had picked up three men.
At the apartment in Schaerbeek, investigators found nearly 40 gallons of acetone and nearly 8 gallons of hydrogen peroxide. The investigators also found detonators, a suitcase full of nails and screws, and other materials that could be used to make explosive devices.
In a garbage bin near that apartment investigators found a computer that carried the last will and testament of Brahim El Bakraoui.
The prosecutor quoted from it, reading: “Always on the run, not knowing what to do anymore, being looked for everywhere, not being safe any longer and that if he waits around any longer he risks ending up next to the person in a cell.”
That may have been a reference to the captured Abdeslam, whose barkeeper brother was deported from Turkey early last year and who blew himself up at a cafe in Paris on November 13.
The airport bombs and a suicide bombing at Maelbeek metro station in the city centre, which prosecutors said was carried out by El Bakraoui’s brother Khalid, killed at least 31 people and injured 270.
First Published: Mar 25, 2016 07:59 IST