Authorities now have solid evidence that the Paris and Brussels attacks are connected. Officials say that one of the Brussels bombers made a bomb used in Paris. According to The Washington Post, DNA evidence reportedly connected Najim Laachraoui to the November 2015 Paris attacks that left more than 100 people dead. Laachraoui is believed to have been one of the suicide bombers in the Brussels attack at the airport.
ISIS quickly claimed responsibility for the Belgium attacks, which killed more than 30 people and wounded more than 200. Officials first reported that Brussels and Paris were linked when it was discovered that two of the Brussels suicide bombers, identified as brothers Ibrahim and Khalid el Bakraoui, had allegedly paid for the apartment that Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam stayed in while on the run. Raids throughout Brussels had been ongoing for months in search of Abdeslam, until he was finally captured just days before the Brussels attacks took place.
A message reportedly found by authorities after the Brussels attacks described a feeling that counterterrorism agents were closing in on them, which could explain why these attacks happened when they did. According to The Washington Post, ISIS said Belgium was targeted because of the country's participation in fighting against them.
Laachraoui was sought by police for his connection to the Paris attacks since before the Brussels attacks took place. The Bakraoui brothers both had criminal histories: For armed robbery and car theft, Khalid was sentenced to five years, and for firing at police officers during a burglary, Ibrahim received nine years.
But the connection between the Paris and Brussels attacks seemed all too clear to authorities. With the similarities in the coordinated attacks at different locations, many people put two and two together early on, but with the discovery of Laachraoui's connection to Abdeslam and the Paris attacks, it seems all too clear that the same ISIS cell was behind these tragedies.