21:06 GMT06 June 2020
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    It has emerged that one of those involved in the radical Islamist attacks in Brussels spent several years in Sweden, where he married and established residency.

    After the Belgian police released the identities of the three terrorists believed to be behind Tuesday's blasts in Brussels, attention was directed towards the late Mohamed Belkaid, a 35-year-old who had been living in Sweden for several years, writes Dagens Nyheter.

    Belkaid was shot to death last week in an anti-terrorist raid in an apartment in the Brussels municipality of Forest. At the scene, the police found a Daesh flag, a weapons cache, as well as the DNA of Salah Abdeslam, identified as "the mastermind behind the Paris attacks."

    According to information provided by the Belgian TV channel RTBF, the apartment in Forest had been rented under a false name by one of the El Bakraoui brothers, who died carrying out the bombings at Brussels Airport and Maalbeek Metro station.

    Two months before the attacks in Paris, Mohamed Belkaid was registered as passing through a checkpoint together with Abdeslam and a third person, namely the 24-year-old Najim Laachraoui, who is now being hunted by Belgian police for his involvement in the Brussels Airport blasts.

    Mohamed Belkaid arrived in Sweden in 2010 and married a Swedish woman. A year later, he was granted a residence permit. He settled in a municipality north of Stockholm, where he was still registered when he was shot to death in an anti-terror raid in Brussels. Back in Sweden, he had committed several minor offences, including theft and illegal knife possession.

    In April 2014, Belkaid Mohamed went to Syria to join Daesh, according to the terrorist registry which had been leaked to the British television channel Sky News. The registry contains detailed information on tens of thousands of Daesh recruits. The documents show that the 35-year-old had been selected, according to one form, to become a suicide bomber.

    In early December, Mohamed Belkaid was wanted internationally by the police for suspected involvement in terrorist attacks in Paris, which claimed 130 lives.

    Swedish security police declined to comment on the tracks leading to Sweden.

    "It is still too early to say. We are in contact with our international partners. We are now keeping an eye on the investigation that is taking place in France and it will happen in Belgium," says Fredrik Milder, press secretary of the Swedish Security Service Säpo.

    According to the Belgian investigators, Mohamed Belkaid was known under the assumed name of Samir Bouzid in Belgian jihadi circles.

    After the police had raided the apartment in Forest, an intense skirmish broke out. The police who arrived on the scene were met with a hail of bullets which injured four policemen. Belkaid was shot dead by a sniper, but two of his fellow terrorists managed to escape and have been on the run ever since. Whether or not they were the main suspects in the Brussels attacks remains unclear.

    ​On Tuesday, at least 34 people were killed and some 260 injured in two bomb blasts in Brussels Airport and an explosion in a metro station in central Brussels. According to the Swedish Foreign Ministry, three Swedes were wounded in yesterday's attacks in Brussels.

    Related:

    Belgian Police Slammed Over Lack of Coordination, Chaos, Confusion
    Belgian Prosecutor Confirms Name of One Suicide Bomber
    Attacks Probably Unrelated to Arrest of Paris Terrorist - Belgian Minister
    Tags:
    terrorist, jihadism, Salah Abdeslam, Najim Laachraoui, Mohamed Belkaid, Sweden, France, Belgium
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