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Brussels Bomber Had Summer Job Cleaning the European Parliament

The EU parliament released a statement Wednesday revealing the Brussels bomber once held a summer job there.

A photo taken on March 11, 2014 shows the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.   AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN        (Photo credit should read FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on March 11, 2014 shows the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN (Photo credit should read FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the Brussels bombers was intimately familiar with the European Parliament building before he helped carry out last month’s coordinated attacks that killed more than 30 people at the city’s airport and in a subway stop near the EU headquarters.

That’s because he spent two summers cleaning it, the EU said Wednesday, without naming which of the four suspected attackers they meant.

“He held a summer holiday job cleaning at the Parliament for one month in 2009 and one month in 2010. Those were the only instances he worked at the Parliament,” the parliament said in a statement.

Three men detonated themselves in Brussels on March 22. A fourth is suspected to have escaped. According to an Agence France-Presse source, the EU is referring to Najim Laachroui, one of the two men who blew themselves up at the airport.

Laachroui is believed to have traveled to Syria in 2013 to be trained by the Islamic State, and is understood to have later have built the bombs that were used in a series of attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people.

As for 2010 and 2011, the European Parliament said in the same statement Wednesday that the suspect did not have any criminal history during the two one-month stints he worked for a contractor hired to clean the building.

“As required by the contract, the cleaning firm submitted proof of the absence of a criminal record to the European Parliament,” the statement said.

Photo credit: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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