Clear links emerge between Paris, Brussels attacks

24th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Investigators say clear links have emerged between the jihadists involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks, suggesting a single cell was responsible for both.

WHO IS STILL SOUGHT OVER BRUSSELS ATTACKS?

Investigators have identified Ibrahim El Bakraoui, 27, and Najim Laachraoui, as the two suicide bombers at Brussels airport, seen in CCTV footage pushing luggage near departure counters.

A third man appears by their side, wearing a beige shirt and black hat, and is wanted by police. Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said his bag contained the largest explosive.

Ibrahim El Bakraoui's brother Khalid, 29, was identified as the suicide bomber on the metro. Police are seeking a second suspect seen talking to him shortly before he boarded the carriage to blow himself up.

TWO ATTACKS, ONE GROUP

The Bakraoui brothers and Laachraoui are linked to the attacks in Paris on November 13 that left 130 dead. Authorities suspect Khalid rented a hideout in the Belgian town of Charleroi used by the jihadists before the attacks in Paris.

French investigators say Laachraoui may have been a bomb-maker for the Paris attacks. His DNA was found on explosives used at the Stade de France stadium and Bataclan concert venue, as well as an apartment in the Brussels suburb of Schaerbeek that may have served for making the suicide vests.

Laachraoui entered Europe with a false passport in the name of Soufiane Kayal, and was registered at the Austria-Hungary border on September 9 with Salah Abdeslam, suspected of being the last surviving participant in the Paris attacks who was arrested last week in Brussels.

They were with a third man, Mohamed Belkaid, alias Samir Bouzid, who was killed on March 15 during a police raid in Molenbeek. The investigators think Laachraoui and Belkaid were in phone contact with several of the Paris attackers on the night of November 13.

"It's the same group, who were bent on committing attacks in France and Belgium," said a source close to the investigation.

WERE THE BRUSSELS ATTACKS A RESPONSE TO ABDESLAM'S ARREST?

A confused and scared message left on an abandoned computer by Ibrahim El Bakraoui indicates the Brussels attack may have been brought forward because the group was worried that police were closing in after Abdeslam's arrest.

"Hunted everywhere... no longer safe," Ibrahim said in the message. "I don't know what to do."


© 2016 AFP

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