It appears that several of the assailants who launched deadly attacks on Paris Friday night had connections to Belgium, according to various media reports.
Several teams of terrorists carried out bombings and shooting attacks across Paris on Friday evening, killing 129 people and injuring more than 300. Seven of the assailants died Friday night, while at least one person is still believed to be at large.
“Friday night’s terror attacks in Paris apparently began with a small cell in the neighbourhoods of Brussels, Belgium, where French authorities believe that many of the terrorists were recruited and that the attacks were planned and financed,” the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, citing two US law enforcement officials.
More information emerged Sunday linking Belgium to the Paris attacks. Seven people in Brussels have been arrested over the weekend in connection with the attacks, according to the Associated Press.
Additionally, a Belgian official revealed Sunday that at least two of the seven dead assailants have been identified as French nationals living in Brussels, according to The Guardian.
Authorities are searching in Belgium for the eighth man associated with the attacks, who they believe crossed over the border from France, according to French station BFMTV. Two people in the car with him have been arrested in Brussels.
The Belgian prosecutors office confirmed Sunday that at least two of the three cars believed to be used in the Paris attacks were rented in Belgium, BFMTV reports.
It seems that French police officers may have made the connection to Belgium on Saturday after finding a parking ticket issued in Brussels in a car parked near the Bataclan concert hall, one of the sites of Friday’s attacks, The Guardian reported Sunday. Specifically, the ticket was from a Brussels neighbourhood called Molenbeek, known as being a hotspot of terrorist activity, according to Bloomberg News.
The raids that led to the seven arrests in Brussels were centered around Molenbeek.
“You have a very high concentration in Molenbeek and that could well be the essence of the story,” Belgian Interior Affairs Minister Jan Jambon said on VTM television on Saturday, according to Bloomberg. “Moreover, local authorities have been rather lax in this respect for many years.”
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