LONDON: Two brothers who killed dozens of people in suicide attacks in Belgium murdered an elderly man years earlier to see what killing was like, according to media reports.
Ibrahim El-Bakraoui and his brother Khalid targeted Zaventem airport and a metro station in 2016. Their bombings claimed 31 lives.
The brothers have now been implicated in the previously unsolved murder of 71-year-old Paul-André Vanderperren, who was shot dead in a Brussels street in 2014.
His case had previously been a mystery to investigators.
The revelations emerged when two of the surviving attackers, Mohamed Abrini and Osama Krayem, were questioned in connection to the bombings.
Krayem and Abrini will face trial next year for their role in the attacks but, according to transcripts seen by De Morgan newspaper, Krayem told investigators in Dec. 2016 that “Khalid told me he and Ibrahim had shot someone dead on the street.”
He said at a later date: “Khalid explained it was an elderly person and that they had wanted to test what it was like to kill someone.”
Krayem’s comments amount to hearsay which, combined with the fact that the accused are now dead, means Vanderperren’s case is unlikely to be reopened.
According to De Morgan, Vanderperren’s widow was informed by lawyers last year that her husband had almost certainly been murdered by the El-Bakraoui brothers.
“I'm still left with plenty of questions but, in a way, it's a relief,” she was reported as saying.
The BBC reported that Brussels prosecutors had not yet received sufficient evidence to reopen the case, and that federal prosecutors were also not currently handling it.