Dutch siblings living in New York confirmed dead in Belgium bombings

(Reuters) - Two Dutch siblings who lived in New York have been identified as among those killed in suicide bombings that rocked Brussels this week, family and friends said on Friday (March 25), while US officials said two Americans were killed in the blasts.

Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski, a brother and sister who were citizens of the Netherlands, were confirmed dead, according to a family statement released by James P. Cain, a former US ambassador to Denmark.

His daughter was engaged to be married to Alexander Pinczowski.

"We are grateful to have closure on this tragic situation, and are thankful for the loving support, thoughts and prayers from all," the statement said, noting that their remains had been positively identified.

 

Two Americans were killed in Tuesday's blasts, a senior US official confirmed without providing identities or any other information. A spokesman for the US State Department on Friday did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

At least 31 people died when Islamic State suicide bombers hit the Brussels airport and a metro train on Tuesday in the worst such attack in Belgian history. About a dozen Americans also were hurt, US officials said earlier this week.

Among those unaccounted for were Justin and Stephanie Shults, originally from Tennessee and Kentucky but who had moved to Belgium, where Stephanie worked for food company Mars Inc and Justin was employed by a filtration system company.

The couple had dropped off Stephanie's mother at the Brussels airport shortly before an explosion rocked the check-in area.

The anguish of their relatives was amplified earlier in the week by a false report that the couple had been located.

The Pinczowski siblings were at a ticket counter in the airport, planning to return to New York, when the attacks occurred, news outlets reported. They were speaking by phone with a relative when the connection abruptly ended, according to the New York Daily News.

"Two young siblings from our city were taken from us far too soon, and our hearts break for the family and friends of Sascha and Alexander," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.