One of the suspected suicide bombers from Tuesday's attacks in Brussels was deported from Turkey last summer, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.
— WGBH News (@wgbhnews) March 23, 2016
Ibrahim el-Bakraoui was suspected of being a foreign fighter and detained, Erdogan said, and Turkey warned authorities at the Belgian Embassy about his ties to terrorists. Bakraoui was deported into the custody of the Netherlands at his request, NPR reports. Belgium couldn't find any evidence of Bakraoui having any links to terrorist groups, and he was released, Erdogan said. Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said that while Bakraoui and his brother Khalid both had criminal records, they did not have any known terrorism ties. The brothers both blew themselves up on Tuesday during the attacks that killed at least 31 people, authorities say.
Earlier this month in Ankara, a bomb blast killed at least 37 people, with a splinter group of the Kurdistan Workers' Party claiming responsibility. Last Friday, Erdogan presciently warned Belgium that the country could soon see its own deadly attack. "There is no reason for the bomb, which exploded in Ankara, not to explode in Brussels, where an opportunity to show off in the heart of the city to supporters of the terror organization is presented, or in any city in Europe," he said. "Despite this clear reality, European countries are paying no attention, as if they are dancing in a minefield. You can never know when you are stepping on a mine." Catherine Garcia