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Belarusian-born "ISIS militants" deny their participation in Brussels attacks

Khalid Doubash, photo from Vkontakte social network

According to reports in the pro-Kremlin media outlet Lifenews, Russia informed Belgian authorities authorities that three ISIS militants from Belarus may have been involved in the Brussels attacks today. Lifenews said its source was someone close to the country's secret services.

According to the news site, two Belarusian-born brothers, Ivan and Alexei Doubash, left for Belgium in late February, accompanied by a compatriot by the name of Marat Yanusov.

"It is known that 27-year-old Alexei was the first (of the two) to have converted to Islam and to communicate with the radicals. Influenced by his older brother, 23-year-old Ivan then also became interested in radical movements," LifeNews quotes their source as saying.

According to the information provided, the brothers joined a squad of terrorists in Syria, and having completed military training, departed for the EU.

Belarusian authorities were quick to respond to the allegations, but Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) spokesman Dzimity Pabyarzhyn would only confirm that the Doubash brothers were indeed Belarusian born.

“They are natives of Belarus and the KGB is aware of their existence,” said Pabyarzhyn. The press officer added that “the committee is carrying out checks on their participation in terrorist activity.” Pabyarzhyn failed to comment on reports implicating the Belarusians in today’s terrorist attacks in Brussels.

Radio Svaboda contacted a "Suleiman Doubash" in vKontakte today to respond to the allegations. He confirms that his Belarusian name is Ivan and writes:

"These articles (are the latest examples of) yellow journalism and nonsensical efforts of miserable journalists to get their next little «star.» The first article appeared on 14 March. In it, we were described as suicide attackers — yet the police didn’t try to find us, nobody even telephoned. Don’t you find that strange? The information from the secret services was checked. Furthermore, it’s not difficult for the police to ascertain whether we ever traveled to Syria or not. Right now we’ve contacted the secret services for an explanation. They told us they know nothing (of these accusations), and they have nothing against us. And what’s most important: If we are suicide attackers, why are we still alive? And if we’re terrorists, why haven’t we been arrested?"

Belgium has raised its terror alert to the highest level after attacks on the Zaventem airport and metro left more than 20 people dead.