Saturday 25 January 2020

IS links Brussels attacks brothers to Paris atrocities

Police secure an area during a house search in the Etterbeek neighbourhood in Brussels (AP)
Police secure an area during a house search in the Etterbeek neighbourhood in Brussels (AP)

Islamic State's online magazine, Dabiq, is praising the attackers who killed 32 in Brussels last month, and hailing two brothers who were suicide bombers in the attack as key actors in November's bloodbath in Paris as well.

The extremist Muslim group has claimed responsibility for both acts of carnage targeting Western European capitals.

"All preparations for the raids in Paris and Brussels started" with Ibrahim El Bakraoui, 30, and his brother Khalid, 27, Dabiq said.

"These two brothers gathered the weapons and the explosives."

It is "firstly due" to the El Bakraouis that the November 13 attacks that killed 130 victims in the French capital occurred, Dabiq said.

Subsequently, it said, Khalid El Bakraoui had a dream "which motivated him to carry out another istishhadi (martyrdom) operation".

The younger El Bakraoui blew himself up in a rush-hour Brussels underground train on March 22, killing 16 victims.

That same morning, his older brother was one of two suicide bombers who detonated explosives-laden suitcases at Brussels Airport, killing another 16.

Dabiq also confirmed Belgian and French police findings that Najim Laachraoui, the second Brussels Airport suicide bomber, manufactured the explosives used in both the Paris and Brussels attacks.

Earlier, Belgian prosecutors said that three people detained over the attacks in Paris had been freed after extensive interrogation.

None of the three was charged, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office said.

The three were taken into custody during a police search in the Brussels district of Uccle on Tuesday.

Belgian authorities have not said what they were looking for, or what they may have found.

PA Media

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