Brussels attacks: DNA links suspect with Paris attacks

US Secretary of State John Kerry with Belgian Premier Charles Michel. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
US Secretary of State John Kerry with Belgian Premier Charles Michel. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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DNA analysis has confirmed that one of the suicide bombers at Brussels Airport was also the suspected bombmaker behind the Paris attacks.

Najim Laachraoui’s DNA was found on a suicide vest and bomb used in the November 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Thirty-one people were killed and 270 wounded in Tuesday’s bombing attacks at the airport and on a subway train in Belgium’s capital.

The news came as three people were arrested in Brussels in connection with the attacks.

Police shot two of them in the legs, including one who was carrying a suspicious bag while accompanied by a young girl.

Gunfire and two explosions rang out in the Schaerbeek district, the same area where police had earlier found explosives and bomb-making material in an apartment used by the suicide attackers.

The Foreign Office has also confirmed that David Dixon, 50, who was from Nottingham but lived in Brussels with his partner and young son, died in the attacks.

His family said it was “the most terrible news”.

Mr Dixon had contacted his family after the airport blasts but was missing after the later Metro station blast.

The UK government said seven Britons had been injured in Tuesday’s attacks. Three were still being treated in hospital, the Foreign Office said.

In a statement, Mr Dixon’s family said: “At this most painful time our family would gratefully appreciate it if we could be left alone to grieve in private.”

A statement from the UK Foreign Office said: “We can confirm David Dixon lost his life in the attacks which took place in Brussels on Tuesday 22 March 2016.Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time and our embassy staff are continuing to support them.”

Mr Dixon had lived in Brussels for about ten years with his partner, Charlotte Sutcliffe.

Meanwhile the death of senior IS second-in-command Haji Imam has been hailed by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as bringing the defeat of the group, also known as Isil and Daesh, “another step closer”.

US forces killed the group’s finance minister this week.

“We are systematically eliminating Isil’s cabinet,” US defence secretary Ash Carter said.

Whether he was killed in Syria or Iraq was not confirmed.

Mr Hammond said on Twitter: “Another step closer to defeating #Daesh with the death of Haji Imam.”