Brussels: Belgian prosecutors said yesterday they had established the real identity of an accomplice in last year’s Paris attacks as 24-year-old Najim Laachraoui, until now known by the false name of Soufiane Kayal.
A handout file picture of Najim Laachraoui. Pic/AFP
“The investigation showed that Soufiane Kayal can be identified as Najim Laachraoui, born on May 18, 1991, who travelled to Syria in February 2013,” prosecutors said in a statement in Brussels.
Laachraoui rented an apartment as Soufiane Kayal in Auvelais, near the central Belgian city of Namur, from where the attacks were planned. He used the same false name at the border between Austria and Hungary on September 9 when he was travelling with Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Belkaid.
Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national of Moroccan origin, is believed to be the last surviving member of the jihadist team that carried out the attacks. He was captured in Brussels last Friday. Belkaid, a 35-year-old Algerian, was shot dead two days earlier in a police raid in the Forest district of Brussels.
The three men had posed as tourists heading to Vienna on holiday and did not raise suspicions when police stopped them.
“Laachraoui’s DNA was found at the Auvelais home and at a house in Schaarbeek (in Brussels), which were used by the terrorist group,” the prosecutors said in the statement. They appealed to the public to contact police with any information about Laachraoui or his whereabouts.