The Brussels terror attacks are part of a macabre pattern of brothers killing together

Paris. Brussels. Solidarity.
Paris. Brussels. Solidarity.
Image: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes
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Brussels woke this morning (March 23) to the work of rebuilding parts of its damaged city, naming those who died in three terror attacks yesterday, and trying to track down the people responsible.

Two of the bombers who died in the attack on Brussels’ Zaventem airport were named as brothers, Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui, who were both Belgian. The bombs they detonated killed 14 people. There is less information about the bomb detonated on a metro train, which killed 20 people. In total, 250 people were wounded. (Police are still searching for another man, Najim Laachraoui.)

The attacks came after the arrest on Friday (March 18) of Salah Abdeslam in Brussels. Police had been hunting Abdeslam as one of the suspects in the Paris attacks that killed 130 people in November 2015. His brother, Brahim, was one of the Paris killers, blowing himself up at a bar as part of a series of coordinated attacks.

The Kouachi brothers.
The Kouachi brothers.
Image: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

At least four of the terrorist incidents over the past years have involved pairs of brothers. Earlier in 2015, Paris had already been hit by the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, where brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi entered the magazine’s offices and killed 11 people.

In April 2013, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonated devices in Boston at the finish line of the city’s marathon. Tamerlan died after wounds sustained as he was trying to evade capture. Dzhokhar was captured, tried, and sentenced to death in the US.