Belgium charges three men linked to attacks in Brussels

Belgian prosecutors have charged three men with terrorist offences, including a suspect who local media said appeared on security footage with two suicide bombers at Brussels airport shortly before they detonated their bombs.

Authorities identified the suspect on Saturday as Faycal C., although Belgian media reported his full name as Faycal Cheffou.

Prosecutors alleged that he was the man wearing a hat and a light-coloured jacket in last Tuesday’s airport security camera video that showed three men pushing baggage trolleys bearing luggage.

The newspaper Le Soir reported that he is believed to be the third attacker at the airport, who has been on the run. The suspect was identified by a taxi driver who drove the attackers to the airport, the newspaper reported.

Faycal C. was among those detained by authorities in raids on Thursday evening in the Schaerbeek and Jette neighbourhoods of Brussels.

An arrest was also made in France on Thursday, while additional raids were carried out on Friday in Schaerbeek, Forest and Saint-Gilles areas of Brussels.

Prosecutors said the home of Faycal C. was searched by investigators, but no weapons or explosives were found.

Prosecutors also said that two other people were charged with participation in activities of a terrorist group but did not communicate a link between them and the Brussels attacks.

The two men were identified as Aboubakar A. and Rabah N. The latter was wanted in connection with a related raid in France this week that authorities said foiled an apparent plan to carry out an attack.

In total, nine people have been arrested in Belgium since Tuesday. Another two arrests were made in Germany.

‘Nail bombs’

Prosecutors said the main suspects of the Brussels attacks evaded authorities by using an empty building under renovation to assemble the “home-made nail bombs”.

Officials said there were no nearby neighbours to notice the suspects bringing in large quantities of strong-smelling household chemicals, as well as a suitcase of nails, to concoct an unstable white explosive powder known as TATP, or triacetone triperoxide.

Meanwhile, Brussels airport officials said flights would not resume before Tuesday as they assessed the damage caused by the twin explosions in the terminal earlier this week.

Authorities wrapped up their investigation of the crime scene at the airport, and will allow engineers into the building to check its structural safety and information technology systems — and whether any damage can be repaired quickly.

The Brussels Airport Company said on Saturday it is “currently studying a temporary solution to partially resume passenger flights, taking into account the new security measures” decided by the federal government.

Brussels Airport handles 23.5 million passengers annually. It links Brussels with 226 destinations worldwide and is served by 77 different airlines.

Brussels airport and a metro train were struck on March 22, leaving 31 people dead, including the bombers, and wounding at least 270 in the worst such attack in Belgian history.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, which claimed responsibility for the Brussels bombings, also took credit for coordinated attacks in Paris in November which killed 130 people.

On Saturday, organisers of a peace march in Brussels announced its event on Sunday has been postponed, after appeals from officials, who said police were already overstretched, with investigations on the attacks still ongoing.

Written by Web Master

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