Brussels and Paris 2015-2016 Bombings

Running head: BRUSSELS AND PARIS 2015-2016 BOMBINGS 1
Brussels and Paris 2015-2016 Bombings
On March 22
2016, Brussels was hit by two terrorist bombings which claimed about
31 lives. The attacks in the city were carried out by three terrorists. In the first attack, two
suicide bombers detonated an explosive bomb at the city airport and the second attack was
made by the third terrorist at Molenbeek subway station. The attacks were perpetrated by
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) who claimed to be responsible for the atrocities
(Berkowitz, 2017). The events shocked the entire community of the European Union and the
rest of the world. Similar attacks were carried out in Paris on November 13
2015. The
terrorists attacked a major stadium, theatre, taverns, and eateries. The assaults were done at
the same time and killed at least 130 persons (Lequesne, 2016).
The police and intelligence agencies’ response to the Brussels and Paris attacks were
immediate and intense. The law enforcement agencies conducted several raids and arrests in
efforts to disrupt other terrorist attacks. Following a forensic investigation, a DNA of an old
hand Belgian rebel and explosives maker with ISIL traced on two of the explosive belts used
in the Paris attacks was established. The DNA revealed that the explosive belts belonged to
one of the attackers in the Brussels bombings. The evidence of DNA confirmed that Najim
Laachraoui was one the terrorists who blew themselves at Brussels Airport claiming 11 lives.
This confirms that there are the direct links between the two attacks (Lequesne, 2016).
Another DNA evidence of Najim was also found in an apartment that was shared by
the terrorists, and the authorities believe it was where the bombs were built. Khalid El-
Bakraoui, another suspect of the attacks, had rented the Brussels apartment raided by the
police in relationship to the Paris bombings. The authorities found the fingerprint and DNA
of Salah Abdeslam a top suspect in Paris attacks in the apartment. Additionally, his
fingerprints were at the scene of one of the Paris bombings. This confirmed that the Paris
attacks were partly planned in Brussels (Bigo, Carrera, Guild, & Mitsilegas, 2017).
Oussama Atar was identified as the suspect who coordinated both attacks according to
French intelligence. He is the cousin to El Bakraoui brothers who blew themselves up in
Brussels. Oussama was responsible for radicalizing at least one of the brothers online. The
authorities proved that Oussama was connected to the two attacks through the evidence that
was found in a computer of one of the brothers. Mohamed Abrini was identified through a
surveillance footage and DNA at Brussels airport alongside other attackers (Faleg, 2016).
Abdeslam and Abrini were also identified in surveillance footage at a gas station in France
just two days before the Paris bombings. The explosives were constructed at the Brussels
apartment rented under a false name, materials that are used to build bombs and traces of
triacetone triperoxide (TATP) were found in the house. It was alleged that friends drove
Abdeslam from Paris to Brussels passing through the police checkpoints. The handmade belts
were used to transport explosives from Brussels to Paris (Berkowitz, 2017).
The Brussels and Paris attacks were strategically staged as the assaults were executed
at places that had a lot of persons. These areas included a football stadium, airport, subway
station and Concert Theater. The attacks were staged at Zaventem airport in the venue of the
international character to cause a multiplier effect directed at capturing global media
attention. TATP is a highly unstable explosive chemical that can explode unintentionally; this
compound was used in the attacks between 2015 and 2016. The chemical is easy to prepare
and difficult to trace using some of the standard explosive screening techniques. The desired
impact of TATP is higher and stronger than military analogs. Other materials which were
used include ammonium nitrate, nails, and metal bolts (Bigo et al., 2017).
In my opinion, the attacks were carried out in the two cities because the Muslim
groups feel marginalized. Additionally, the cities are home to millions of inhabitants, and
therefore, the terrorists saw attacking the cities would capture the world attention. In case
anything went wrong, the attackers would have committed suicide to protect the ISIL secrets
from leaking to authorities.
Berkowitz, D. (2017). Solidarity Through the Visual: Healing Images in the Brussels
Terrorism Attacks. Mass Communication And Society, 1-23.
Bigo, D., Carrera, S., Guild, E., & Mitsilegas, V. (2017). The EU and the 2016 terrorist
attacks in Brussels: better instead of more information sharing (1st ed.). Brussels:
Nostalgia Editions.
Faleg, G. (2016). European security after the Paris attacks (1st ed.). London: Olympia
Lequesne, C. (2016). French foreign and security challenges after the Paris terrorist attacks.
Contemporary Security Policy, 37(2), 306-318.

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