FBI informed Netherlands about Brussels attack brothers

Ibrahim El Bakraoui
Brussels bombing suspect Ibrahim El-BakraouiBrussels bombing suspect Ibrahim El-Bakraoui

A few days before the terrorist attacks in Brussels last week the FBI gave the Dutch police information about the criminal and radicalized background of brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice wrote to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of Dutch parliament.

The FBI sent this information to the Netherlands on March 16th, six days before before the suicide bombings at Zaventem airport and Maalbeek subway station. The Netherlands passed the information on to the Belgian police on March 17th. Ibrahim has been on an American "watch list" since September last year.

The American report included information on Ibrahim's criminal background and Khalid's radical and terrorist background. The El Bakraoui brothers were suicide bombers in two of the three attacks. Ibrahim was at the airport. Khalid at the subway station.

Minister Van der Steur sent a 29 page document to the Kamer in advance of the parliamentary debate on the terrorist attacks in Brussels scheduled for later today. In total he answered 166 questions. Central to the questions was the issue of Ibrahim El Bakraoui's extradition from Turkey to the Netherlands in July last year.

According to Van der Steur, the Netherlands did not see Turkey's message about El Bakraoui's deportation. The Turkish officials did not call the Netherlands, as is usual in deportations. He has no idea why El Bakraoui was sent to the Netherlands, instead of his home country of Belgium, or how long he stayed in our country. Every country can send any EU citizen back to any EU country, he writes.

El Bakraoui is not on any EU or Interpol list. In the Netherlands he was not known as a possible rebel fighter in the Syrian civil war.