We’ve suspected and feared as much. Now authorities are confirming our worst fears — the most definitive link yet between the terror attacks last November in Paris and this week in Brussels — reinforcing that the two attacks were part of a coordinated plan by ISIS against Europe.
One of the men who blew himself up Tuesday in Brussels was the bomb maker who produced two of the suicide vests used in the Paris terror attacks.
Via The New York Times:
One of the two men who blew themselves up at Brussels Airport on Tuesday was a bomb maker who helped produce two suicide vests used in the attacks that killed 130 people in and around Paris on Nov. 13, the Belgian authorities said on Friday. He is the most definitive link so far between the two sets of attacks.
The bomb maker — Najim Laachraoui, 24, a Belgian citizen — was an accomplice of Salah Abdeslam, 26, who was captured in Belgium last Friday after a four-month global manhunt and charged with terrorist murder, officials said. Mr. Abdeslam is suspected of being the sole surviving direct participant in the Paris attacks, and his arrest appears to have accelerated the plot that culminated in the attack on Brussels, which killed 31 people.
Mr. Laachraoui traveled to Syria in February 2013. Last September, while using a false identity card, he and Mr. Abdeslam were stopped at the Hungarian-Austrian border, but not detained. He rented a house in Auvelais, Belgium, that was used by the attackers, as well as an apartment in the Schaerbeek section of Brussels that he and Mr. Abdeslam used as a bomb-making lab.
On Monday — three days after Mr. Abdeslam was captured in Molenbeek, the Brussels neighborhood where he grew up — the authorities asked for help finding Mr. Laachraoui.
But it was too late. At 7:58 a.m. on Tuesday, he blew himself up at Brussels Airport, along with another suicide bomber, Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, 29.
News agencies had widely reported Mr. Laachraoui’s death, but officials awaited DNA results before confirming the news. On Friday, the federal prosecutor in Brussels confirmed the death, and also disclosed that Mr. Laachraoui’s DNA had been found on suicide vests that were set off at the Stade de France, north of Paris, and in the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, on Nov. 13.
Mr. Laachraoui was one of several central figures linking the Paris and Brussels attacks.
This confirmation highlights a number of major concerns we face in this war against radical Islamic terror in general — and ISIS in particular. While the group is indeed encouraging “lone wolf” attacks, the group also continues to coordinate efforts via a web of terror cells. Clearly, that is already happening in Europe; in fact, as we reported the other day, ISIS has hundreds of trained fighters poised to strike in a wave of attacks.
And, of course, it’s now well-known that ISIS has access to passports they can use to create fake identification, which helps members move easily across borders — as it now appears both Laachraoui and Abdeslam did last September as they returned from Syria.
As we have discussed at length, the Syrian refugee crisis is being exploited by ISIS — aided by fake identification and well-known gaps in vetting — to more easily infiltrate both Europe and the United States. And politically-correct leaders in both Europe and the United States are eating out of their hands.
Somehow, these leaders have lost sight of the real and growing humanitarian crisis ISIS is perpetrating against its increasing number of terror victims, the latest being those 59 dead, and hundreds injured, in Brussels and Baghdad just this week.
Our president seems to have the attitude that a “few” lives and some blood is just to be expected — and a fair trade for not ruffling some feathers in stricter vetting and, gasp, profiling.
What’s it going to take for us to learn the lessons Europe is revealing, before it’s too late?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]