The New York Times reports: Somewhere, there is a digital archive containing the portraits of the Islamic State’s network of fighters in Europe. The image of each fighter was stored in this database months before last year’s attacks in Paris, and after each new terror strike, the group has reached into it and released the photographs. So it was on Wednesday.
The latest issue of Dabiq, the Islamic State’s slick online magazine, includes an image of Najim Laachraoui, the 24-year-old former Catholic school pupil who was last seen wheeling a suitcase bomb into the Brussels airport. He is wearing military fatigues and sadistically winking at the camera. Next to him is a man with a bloody knife, suggesting they had just beheaded a captive.
It is worth noting that the two men’s uniforms exactly match those worn by the Paris attackers last year, as shown in another set of photographs and an accompanying video, also pulled from the archive. Those were shot somewhere in Syria or Iraq before the attacks, and made public soon after. They have the same desert camouflage pattern, the same tan cap and tactical vest, the same cutoff gloves and grotesque scene of bloodshed.
Before returning to Europe, both the Brussels bomber and the Paris plotters posed for carefully choreographed scenes, showing the atrocities they committed in Syria and Iraq. The purpose is clear: to show the West that the attackers really were sent from the heart of the group’s terror machinery. [Continue reading…]