Brussels bomber's brother to compete for Belgium in the Olympics

Mourad Laachraoui is the younger brother of Najim, one of two suicide bombers who killed 32 people in March

BY Darragh Murphy 19:04 Saturday 21 May 2016, 19:04 21 May 2016

The brother of one of the Brussels suicide bombers is set to compete at the Rio Olympics.

Mourad Laachraoui won gold at the European Taekwondo Championships and has been chosen by to represent his Belgium at the Olympic Games in Brazil.

His older brother Najim, was one of two suicide bombers who blew himself up at Brussels Airport in March, part of attacks that killed 32 people in the city.

Mourad, aged 21, is listed among Belgium's 185-strong squad bound for the games in Rio De Janeiro starting this August, where he will compete in the under-58kg category.

On Friday, Mourad won gold in the under-54kg in Montreux, Switzerland, the Flemish taekwondo federation dubbing him "Europe's king of the lightweights" in a tweet.

In a news conference two days after the attacks, Mourad said his brother was a nice, intelligent boy and had given no signs of being radicalized before he left for Syria in 2013 and broke all contact with his family.

A veteran Islamist fighter in Syria, Najim, who trained in electromechanics, is also suspected of making explosive belts for last November's Paris attacks, which killed 130 people.

"It's crazy, really - the same parents, the same upbringing, and one turns out really well and the other really bad," his lawyer Philippe Culot said in March.

"You don't choose your family," Mourad remarked.


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