Brussels suicide bomber's brother headed to Rio Olympics

Belgian taekwondo athlete Mourad Laachraoui. (AFP)
Belgian taekwondo athlete Mourad Laachraoui. (AFP)

A Belgian man whose older brother was one of the Brussels suicide bombers is headed to Rio as a taekwondo competitor.

Mourad Laachraoui, the younger brother of bomber Najim Laachraoui, won gold in the European Taekwondo Championships. He will compete in Rio representing Belgium.

Mourad, along with other members of his family, said they had not heard from Najim for several years prior to the suicide bombing at Zaventem Aiport on March 22. A second bomb went off at the Maelbeek Rail Station; a total of 32 people were killed in the attacks. Najim Laachraoui was also connected to the Paris terrorist attacks from last year.

Mourad has spoken in the past about his brother's actions, saying he was "sad and ashamed" when he heard of his family's connection to the tragedy. "Our family has the same questions you all have," he said in March. "He used to be a nice intelligent guy. I couldn't believe it."

Mourad expressed deep sympathy for the victims and survivors, and tried to put distance between his family and his brother's actions. "I'm not trying to understand," he said. "I'm trying to move on and turn the page."

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.