Brussels bomber posed as ex-Inter midfielder to pass through Europe

Largely unknown as a player, Ibrahim Maaroufi’s identity was stolen by terrorist Khalid El Bakraoui to travel and rent an apartment before the March 22 atrocities

El Bakraoui Maaroufi

En route to the attack on Maelbeek Metro station, Khalid El Bakraoui used the false identity of former Inter youth player Ibrahim Maaroufi to cross Italian security checks.

Passing through the north east of the country on his way to Athens, the terrorist’s passport identified him as the Belgian midfielder, the name which he also used to rent an apartment in Charleroi before committing the attacks.

Landing at Treviso airport on the morning of July 23 2015, El Bakraoui flew Ryanair on a ticket bought by someone else’s credit card and spent the night in a hotel near Venice.

Subsequently moving on to Greece, he would meet Bari Salah Abdeslam, the organiser of the Paris attacks four months later.

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It had been known that El Bakraoui had been using Maaroufi’s name for some time, according to an anti-terrorism dossier, but only now has that been linked to the former Nerazzurri youngster.

Now 27, Maaroufi is a Belgian citizen with Moroccan heritage who made his professional debut for Inter in 2006. Leaving for Vicenza three years later, he struggled to gain first team football at a series of clubs and most-recently appeared for Belgian side FC Schaerbeek.



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