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Belgian Authorities Identify Two Brothers As Tuesday's Suicide Bombers

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Surveillance photo showing men investigators believe are brothers Khalid and Brahim Bakraoui Surveillance photo showing men investigators believe are brothers Khalid and Brahim Bakraoui
BRUSSELS, Belgium -

Two of the suicide bombers who targeted Brussels Airport and the city's subway system were identified Wednesday as Belgian brothers Khalid and Brahim Bakraoui, and there were brief, false hopes that the suspected ISIS bomb-maker behind the attacks could have been apprehended.

A major Belgian newspaper and television network reported early Wednesday that police had taken Najim Laachraoui, the Belgian national suspected of making the bombs for the November 13, 2015, attacks in Paris and yesterday's carnage in Brussels, which left at least 31 people dead, into custody.

Officials never confirmed the reports, however, and the media outlets later said the man arrested in the southwest Brussels district of Anderlecht on Wednesday had not yet been identified.

Later, Belgium's federal prosecutor confirmed that the person arrested Wednesday in Brussels was not Laachraoui. The suspected bomb-maker did not detonate his own bomb at the airport, the prosecutor said, and was still on the run. His unexploded bomb was recovered by police at the airport.

The information from the prosecutor appeared to confirm that there were two suspects still being actively sought in and around Brussels, linked to the Tuesday attacks; Laachraoui, and an unidentified bomber seen at the airport.

Laachraoui's arrest would have been a major blow against what appears to be a deadly ISIS cell in Western Europe. But as worries over the Belgian authorities' ability to tackle the home-grown threat mount, the information emerging Wednesday also suggested there was a fourth, still-unidentified assailant.

There was no information provided about the third man, seen in an image from an airport security camera released Tuesday. Laachraoui and Brahim Bakraoui are thought to be pictured in the screengrab, (on the right and in the middle respectively, in the image above). The man on the left remains unidentified.

The Bakraoui brothers had a long history of crime and were known to authorities, but had not been linked to terrorism before last week.

RTBF said Khalid El Bakraoui rented the apartment in the Forest neighborhood of the Belgian capital, using a false identity, that was raided by police last Friday in an operation that led to the arrest of top Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.

There was no information provided about the third man, seen in an image from an airport security camera released Tuesday. Laachraoui and Brahim Bakraoui are thought to be pictured in the screengrab, (on the right and in the middle respectively, in the image above). The man on the left remains unidentified.

The Bakraoui brothers had a long history of crime and were known to authorities, but had not been linked to terrorism before last week.

RTBF said Khalid El Bakraoui rented the apartment in the Forest neighborhood of the Belgian capital, using a false identity, that was raided by police last Friday in an operation that led to the arrest of top Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.

Laachraoui, 25, has been openly sought by the police since Monday and it is believed he may have built the bombs for both the Brussels attacks and the Paris carnage in November.

CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reported that, according to Belgian authorities, Laachraoui's DNA was found on the explosives used in the gun and suicide attacks in Paris, which left 130 people dead. He was already Europe's most-wanted man when he walked into Brussels Airport on Tuesday morning.

Belgian authorities have not confirmed that Laachraoui was the suspect from the airport image still being sought by police.

The carnage in Paris is believed to have been planned largely in Brussels, where a handful of the attackers lived or had links. That attack was blamed on ISIS, but the attackers were "home-grown" militants, from Europe.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks at Brussels Airport and one an hour later on one of the city's metro trains, near the station of Maelbeek. Most of the victims were killed in the train blast.

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