Americans confirmed dead in Brussels attacks; Kerry visits


A German official has said there is no concrete evidence that a man arrested in Duesseldorf following the Brussels attacks has current links to Islamic extremists in Brussels or Paris.Two of the men were injured in the leg during separate operations, the prosecutor said, the first in the Brussels district of Forest where a previous raid led to the arrest of top Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.Prime Minister Charles Michel refused to accept the resignations of the interior and justice ministers, who have been severely criticised for allowing the attackers – at least three of whom were known to authorities – to slip through the net.BELGIAN police have shot and captured a terror suspect in a major daylight operation at a tram stop, as part of a European crackdown that has netted several arrests in the wake of the Brussels attacks.Talking to reporters, Kerry said the reason the Islamic State group “is resorting to actions outside the Middle East is that its fantasy of a caliphate is collapsing before their eyes; it’s territory is shrinking”.The Dutch justice minister has confirmed that Ibrahim El Bakraoul, one of the Brussels suicide bombers, flew from Turkey to Amsterdam in July. According to Friday’s reports, the man received two suspicious text messages on the day of the attacks: one containing the name of one of the attackers, and the other the French word “fin” (“end”).It is clear that some of the Brussels attackers had been on the run from authorities in France and Belgium but were still able to hide in safe houses, assemble bombs and carry out linked attacks. He will also lay a wreath at a memorial site at the airport for attack victims.Belgian authorities detained at least six people in raids connected with Tuesday’s bombing attacks on the Brussels airport and metro system.Belgium’s state broadcaster said one person was carrying a bag of explosive material.But she said the move “is not necessarily linked with the terrorist attacks”.”You have a fragmented intelligence picture but we’re trying to help with that”, he said.”We are looking at large numbers of foreign fighters who have returned as potential terrorists”, he said.Also Thursday, Abdeslam was summoned to court in Brussels. His lawyer, who had initially vowed to fight extradition to France for the Paris attacks, said he now wants to be sent there as soon as possible.French authorities previously said Abdeslam remained under the radar for four hours, as chaos unfolded across Paris, before he called acquaintances Mohammed Amri and Hamza Attou to come get him and take him back to Belgium.Abdeslam then explained he “was going to get inside the Stade de France as a patron; however (he) didn’t have a ticket”.