Man Charged With Terrorist Offences Over Brussels’ Attacks

belgum attackersBelgian prosecutors have charged a man with terrorist offences, in connection with Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels that left 28 people dead.

The man named as Faycal C was arrested on Thursday.

At least half the victims died at the airport, the rest in an attack on the metro in suicide bombings.

The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The BBC quoted authorities as saying that Zaventem – Brussels international airport – will not reopen before Tuesday.

Meanwhile a demonstration against the attacks, scheduled for Sunday in central Brussels, has been cancelled after a request from the authorities.

Organisers said people’s security was a top priority.

Belgian prosecutors said that Faycal C had been detained outside the prosecutor’s office in Brussels on Thursday. A search of his home had found no weapons.

Faycal C was charged with “participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murders and attempted terrorist murders,” a statement said.

It gave no further details and made no comment on Belgian media reports that he was the third man in an airport CCTV image that showed the two suicide bombers – Najim Laachraoui on the left, and Brahim el-Bakraoui.

Belgian media say the third man is Faycal Cheffou, a freelance journalist.

Belgium Identifies Brussels Bomb Suspect, Suicide Bombers: Media

busserelsBelgian police have identified a prime suspect in Tuesday’s Brussels blasts and two suspected suicide bombers, linking them directly to Islamic State. militants behind last November’s Paris attacks, Belgian media reported on Wednesday.

Najim Laachraoui, 25, is believed to be the man seen on CCTV pushing a baggage trolley alongside the bombers and then running out of the Brussels airport terminal.

Earlier some media reported that he had been captured in the Brussels borough of Anderlecht, but they later said the person detained was not Laachraoui.

Police and prosecutors refused immediate comment but the federal prosecutor was due to hold a news conference at 1200 GMT.

The death toll in the attacks on the Belgian capital, home to the European Union and NATO, rose to at least 31 with some 260 wounded, Health Minister Maggie De Block said on VRT television. It could rise further because some of the bomb victims at Maelbeek metro station were blown to pieces and victims are hard to identify.

One of the suspects seen on CCTV pushing baggage trolleys at Brussels airport just before the explosions was identified as Brahim El Bakraoui, public broadcaster RTBF reported. It said his brother, Khalid, blew himself up on the metro train.

Both had criminal records for armed robbery but had not previously been linked by investigators to Islamist militants.

Laachraoui is wanted in connection with the Paris attacks. His DNA was found on at least two explosives belts used in those attacks and at a Brussels hideout used last week by prime Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested last Friday after a shoot-out with police.

RTBF said Khalid El Bakraoui had rented under a false name the apartment in the city’s Forest borough, where police hunting Abdeslam killed a gunman in a raid last week. He is also believed to have rented a safe house in the southern Belgian city of Charleroi used to mount last November’s Paris attacks.

The Syrian-based Islamist group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attacks, four days after Abdeslam’s arrest in Brussels, warning of “black days” for those fighting it in Syria and Iraq. Belgian warplanes have joined the coalition in the Middle East, but Brussels has long been a center of Islamist militancy.

Belgian Media Say Brussels Prime Suspect Not Arrested

beliganBelgian media which earlier reported the arrest on Wednesday of a prime suspect in Tuesday’s bomb attacks in Brussels said the person detained was not, in fact, Najim Laachraoui.

La Libre Belgique newspaper said another person had been arrested. DH, which first reported the story, also said the man detained in the Anderlecht district had been misidentified.