Brussels attacks suspect 'sold acid to bomber'

Brussels (AFP) –


A man charged this week over the 2016 Brussels terror attacks is suspected of selling powerful acid used to make explosives to one of the three suicide bombers, a source told AFP on Thursday.

The 39-year-old, named by De Standaard newspaper as Brahim Tabich, is the 10th person to be charged over the triple suicide blasts targeting Brussels airport and metro system that killed 32 people.

Tabich, who was charged on Tuesday, is believed to be the manager of a hardware shop in the Belgian capital where suicide bomber Ibrahim El Bakraoui acquired sulphuric acid, which was used to make the explosives.

"He's the one who would have sold (the acid) to Ibrahim El Bakraoui," the source close to the case told AFP, adding that Tabich knew the bomber.

El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui blew themselves up in the crowded departure hall of Zavantem airport early on March 22 last year. Shortly afterwards, El Bakraoui's brother Khalid attacked Maalbeek metro station in the city's European Union quarter.

Prosecutors say Tabich is suspected of "participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murders and attempted terrorist murders, as a perpetrator, co-perpetrator or accomplice".

His brother Ali Tabich, who ran the hardware shop with him, was jailed in Belgium in 2013 in another terrorism case for recruiting for Al-Qaeda, the source said.

Three other people arrested during 11 raids in the Brussels region on Monday have been freed.