Belgian federal police are searching for a man who they believe is a suspect in the Brussels attacks today, caught on surveillance video with two purported suicide bombers.
A surveillance photo taken from inside Brussel’s Zaventem airport apparently minutes before the deadly blasts and released publicly shows three men, two dressed nearly identically in dark clothes and one in a light jacket with a hat pulled down. Belgian authorities said the two similarly-dressed men are believed to be the suicide bombers who killed 10 innocent people, but the third man is thought to have survived the attack and is “actively wanted.” Prior to the blasts, each of the men are pushing baggage carts with what appears to be black bags on them.
Officials said that they believed the devices were in the suitcases because a third, unexploded device was found in one.
Later Tuesday, police released other images of the trio, asking "Who knows this man?"
While authorities have released little further information regarding the trio, Rich Frankel, former head of counter-terrorism for the FBI in New York, told ABC News it appeared that the third man may have been a “handler” for the two suicide bombers and was meant to slip away.
“You have him dressed a little differently, and you have him wearing a hat and you have him wearing glasses... It is enough that it causes it to be harder to identify the person,” said Frankel, now an ABC News consultant. “He could be the person who brings them to the airport. He could be the individual who makes sure they actually carry out the attack, or if they are not able to carry out the terrorist attack, he’s able to spirit them away or advise his terrorist cell that it did not take place.”
A former military intelligence analyst agreed, telling ABC News the third man could have been around to “see the [attack] through” and wore a disguise in order to escape later. The suspected bombers, he said, “don’t carry the same concern – who cares if their identity is blown?”
A senior U.S. official told ABC News that Belgian authorities had shared the names of the suspected attackers with their American counterparts, but declined to comment further.
Two explosions were reported this morning, but this afternoon Arnaud Feist, the airport’s CEO, confirmed that a third explosive device did not detonate and instead was neutralized by police. The device was found in a suitcase, leading investigators to suspect that was the hiding place for the other two devices, according to Zaventem Mayor Francis Vermeiren.
In one curious detail, it appears that the two men identified by authorities as the suspected suicide bombers were each wearing a single black glove on their left hands. Frankel said it’s possible they needed the gloves to handle live wires or make other last-minute preparations for the bombs. There’s also the possibility that the men were hiding something in the gloves themselves, Frankel said, “and that’s the reason to cover those strings or those wires – so that if [otherwise] law enforcement or a civilian saw, they might raise the alarm.”
The dual bombing at the airport occurred around 8 a.m. local time and was followed just over an hour later by a third bombing in a Brussels subway station. That bomb killed 21 others. In total, more than 200 people were injured in the two attacks, including several Americans.
An ISIS-affiliated website reported today that the terror group claimed responsibility for the attacks, claiming its “fighters” carried out the bombings against “the Belgian capital of Brussels, a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State.”