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Links Revealed Between Brussels And Paris Attacks

Brussels bomber had made suicide vests for Paris attacks in November

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Patrols on the streets of Brussels — (AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 25, 2016 at 3:36 PM ET

One of the attackers in the Brussels airport attack Tuesday was involved in making suicide vests for the attacks in Paris in November, Belgian authorities said on Friday. Just a day before the Brussels attacks, authorities had asked for assistance in finding the attacker’s whereabouts, but a day later, he blew himself up.

The Brussels airport attacker’s name was Najim Laachraoui, a 24-year-old citizen of Belgium. Authorities said Laachraoui’s DNA was discovered on an explosive belt at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, where attackers killed 89 people. They said his DNA was also found on a bomb near the Stade du France sports stadium in Paris, where three suicide bombs went off the same day as the attack at the Bataclan.

Authorities believe Laachraoui worked with Salah Abdeslam, a prime suspect in the series of attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November. Officials undertook a four-month manhunt for Abdeslam and arrested him four days before the Brussels attacks. Abdeslam’s arrest on March 18, in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, is thought to have possibly sparked Tuesday’s bombings in the Belgian capital. Abdeslam has stopped talking to police since Tuesday, authorities said.

A Belgian police official and a medical worker who witnessed his gunshot wound treatment told BuzzFeed News that the terrorists might have originally planned the Brussels attacks for the day after Easter but pushed it forward following Abdeslam’s arrest.

Prosecutors named the other Brussels attackers as two brothers, Khalid El Bakraoui, 27, and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, 29. Authorities thought Khalid might have had a possible connection with the Paris attacks, and that a failure to act by Belgian authorities after Ibrahim was arrested on the border of Turkey and Syria for terrorist activity, the New York Times reported.