Brother of Belgian bomber wins gold in Switzerland

Brother of Belgian bomber wins gold in Switzerland

Mourad Laachraoui was left ‘devastated’ by his brother’s actions. Photo: Emmanual Dunand/AFP

Published: 20 May 2016 15:28 GMT+02:00

Mourad Laachraoui, brother of Najim Laachraoui, beat Spaniard Jesus Tortosa 6-3 in the -54kg final in the Swiss city of Montreux on Thursday night.

A silver medallist at the Summer Universiades in 2015, the 21-year-old has qualified for the Rio Games in August.

Najim Laachraoui, 24, was one of the two suicide bombers who struck Brussels airport on March 22nd, while a third attacker blew himself up at on a metro train, with the two attacks killing 32 people.

Two days after the Brussels attacks, Mourad Laachraoui said he had been “devastated” by what had happened. He said he not had contact with his older brother since the latter left for Syria in February 2013.

“You don’t choose your family,” he told a press conference at the time, adding not to draw “any parallels” with his family who were trying to “turn the page”.

“I have no idea why my brother turned (to terrorism). We didn’t see any change when he became radicalized,” he said, explaining that his sporting career had distanced them over the years.

“It’s crazy, they were born into the same family, they received the same education and one turns everything white and the other black, even very, very black,” Mourad Laachraoui’s lawyer said after the attacks.

“He’s not responsible for the actions of his brother.”

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