The Paris attacks bomb-maker was killed in the Brussels attacks Tuesday, reports confirm. DNA from the Paris bomb-maker had been found among debris from the Paris bombings, and in the apartments raided shortly after as Paris and Brussels police scrambled to catch the escaped Abdeslam and other ISIS militants involved.
Today, Fox News reports that the bomb-maker for both attacks, Morrocan-born Najim Laachraoui, was killed after he detonated a suicide vest at the Brussels airport Tuesday. Laachraoui, DNA confirms, constructed the bombs found at the apartment shared by the Brussels attackers, as well as the bombs used in the Paris attacks last November, suggesting that the cell had been active and actively avoiding police for months.
After one Brussels attacker’s will was discovered on a discarded laptop today, it became clear that Salah Abdeslam’s arrest had a profound effect on the Brussels attackers, and likely moved up their plans for the attacks that unfolded on Tuesday – which could have been much worse, given the sheer amount of unused explosives found in their apartment Tuesday night.
The apartments raided by Brussels police revealed the bomb-making factory that Laachraoui and the el-Bakraoui brothers had been using produced large amounts of acetone peroxide, a chemical used previously in bombs detonated during the Paris attacks. Laachraoui was reportedly educated at a Catholic high school where he studied electro-mechanical engineering.
According to officials speaking with the Associated Press, the Laachraoui’s DNA confirmed that he was one of the suicide bombers involved in Tuesday’s deadly attacks. On further analysis and comparison, Brussels authorities discovered that Laachraoui’s DNA was also found on the Paris attacks bombs. Furthermore, Laacharoui’s DNA was found inside each of the extra suicide vests found in his apartment Tuesday night.
Though the Paris attacks bomb-maker has been killed, Brussels authorities caution that there are still a number of ISIS fighters on the run, and at large within Belgium and the surrounding countries. Several people whom the Belgian government consider security risks, and who may be linked to the Brussels attacks, have yet to be accounted for.
Whether or not, however, Abdeslam was a part of the Brussels cell originally, or if he linked up with them after the Paris attacks, has not been confirmed. An official in Brussels confirmed that it was a “plausible hypothesis” but declined to comment further, when speaking with the Associated Press.
After Laachraoui traveled to Syria in February of 2013, he returned to Europe sometime later – investigators suggest that it was during this time that he was trained in bomb-making by ISIS militants. Prior to his death, Laachraoui had been stopped by police numerous times, once with Abdeslam while crossing the border into Belgium. According to Fox News, he rented a house under an assumed name in the Belgian town of Auvelais, where prosecutors found more traces of his DNA, the DNA found in the Paris explosives.
When Salah Abdeslam was arrested, it became clear to Laachraoui that the police were closing in on him and his cell, report authorities in Brussels. He was wanted in connection with Abdeslam’s arrest, after his DNA had been found in so many locations linked to the Paris attacks. Belgian prosecutors had sought to question Laachraoui as early as Monday. But by Tuesday, he’d put on a suicide vest and kill 14 people at the Brussels airport.
The two brothers Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, the other two attackers, were also afraid of prison, reports Fox News.
“There was a paper where he described that he is insecure, that he is lost, and does not know what to do and that he might end up in jail,” said a Belgian official, describing a note discovered in the bombers’ apartment.
[Photo by AP Images/Gov’t Handout]