Authorities in the Netherlands have detained three men using DNA evidence found at a weapons cache in France. The arrests were linked to a Parisian apartment rented by a French jihadist.
Dutch authorities said DNA traces of three men arrested on Monday had been found on weapons discovered at an Islamic State-linked hideout in Paris.
The investigation dates back to the Brussels airport and metro bombings of March 2016 which killed 32 people. Two days later, French police discovered the apartment in Argenteuil, which had been rented by French jihadist Reda Kriket.
Authorities found a weapons arsenal in the apartment, and were convinced a terrorist attack had been thwarted by the discovery. The cache included five Kalashnikovs, small arms, 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of explosives, detonators, false passports, mobile phones and jihadist writings.
Investigators discovered that DNA spores taken from the weapons matched the DNA profiles of the three suspects now in custody — a 26-year-old from the Dutch city of Groningen, a 30-year-old with no fixed abode, and a 53-year-old — as well as a fourth suspect, a 22-year-old who is being detained on a separate matter. All four men are being questioned by police.
Two of the suspects spent some time fighting for Islamic State in Syria, according to French authorities cited by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service. Before their arrest they traveled inside the EU's passport-free Schengen zone between France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The four suspects will be referred to examining magistrates later this week.