The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) warned Dutch authorities about terrorist brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui six days before the deadly Brussels attack, the Dutch justice minister Ard van der Steu revealed on 29 March. Officials then gave the information provided by the FBI to Belgium.
According to Agence France-Presse, the FBI had placed Ibrahim El Bakraoui on a terror watch list in September 2015. Van der Steu told reporters that Dutch police received a report on 16 March "in which there was notification of Ibrahim El Bakraoui and his brother Khalid's criminal backgrounds and Khalid's terrorist background."
The minister said the following day "the issue came up during bilateral contact between the Dutch and Belgian police". He added: "The radical background of both the brothers was discussed." Van der Steur confirmed that Ibrahim had been placed on a US terror list compiled by the FBI terrorist screening centre.
Ibrahim El Bakraoui was one of two bombers who detonated themselves at the Brussels airport on 22 March. His brother Khalid blew himself up at the Maalbeek metro station. The series of attacks killed more than 30 people and wounded many more.
According to the AFP, the Dutch minister's comments come as Belgian authorities continue to search for a fugitive bomber.
Belgian authorities, who have come under-fire following the attacks, claim they did not receive any information directly from the FBI on 16 March about the jihadist brothers. Belgium's federal police said that there was "no mention of the message that the FBI sent to the Dutch police" during the bilateral meeting between the Netherlands and Belgium.
Authorities said that instead, police discussed a raid in Brussels on 15 March in which an Algerian terrorist with links to suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam was captured. The AFP reported that Khalid El Bakraoui is believed to have rented the flat where the raid occurred using a false name.
Reuters reported that Khalid went missing at the end of October and was on Interpol's wanted list on terrorist charges. Police discovered a flat used by the Paris attackers had been rented by Khalid using a false name.
However, the Belgian government has admitted that mistakes were made with regards to evidence about criminals linked to terrorist groups. Turkey accused Belgium of ignoring a clear and present danger when it revealed it had deported Ibrahim El Bakraoui as a "terrorist" suspect last year.
Van der Steur confirmed that Turkey deported Ibrahim back to the Netherlands in July but claimed he was not known to Dutch law enforcement and was not on any watch lists. The justice minister said it was unclear how long Bakraoui remained in the Netherlands before returning to Belgium.
The Islamic State took credit for the bombings in Brussels, which occurred just months after the attacks in Paris left 131 dead.