Brussels attacks: suspects charged with terror offences, Europe on alert

FOUR men have been charged by police since last week’s deadly Brussels terror attacks, including the man believed to be Europe’s most-wanted fugitive the “man in white”.

The latest to be charged is Abderamane A, who was taken into custody to be held for at least 24 hours after he was shot be police at a Scharbeek tram stop in Brussels. He is the second man to be charged with links to a foiled French attack, the federal prosecutor said Sunday.

Abderamane A clutches a bag believed to contain explosives at a tram stop in the Brussels suburb of Schaerbeek.

Abderamane A clutches a bag believed to contain explosives at a tram stop in the Brussels suburb of Schaerbeek. Source:Supplied

Belgian prosecutors named Faycal C — believed to be the “man in white” spotted on CCTV at the departures hall of Zaventem Airport moments before a suicide bomb went off — was among three others charged by local authorities, alongside Rabah N and Aboubakar A.

Faycal C has been charged with actual and attempted terrorist murder. All four men have been charged with terror offence activities, including involvement in a terrorist group, after the Tuesday explosions which killed 31 people and injured 340 others.

All were said to be linked to the network of Islamic State jihadis behind November’s Paris terror attacks.

Faycal Cheffou, a key suspect of the Brussels attacks, speaks in a 2014 YouTube video calling himself an independent journalist demanding the authorities respect the rights of asylum seekers Picture: YouTube

Faycal Cheffou, a key suspect of the Brussels attacks, speaks in a 2014 YouTube video calling himself an independent journalist demanding the authorities respect the rights of asylum seekers Picture: YouTube Source:AFP

In Italy, police arrested an Algerian national wanted by Belgian police in connection with fake ID documents used in both the Paris and Brussels attacks.

Djamal Eddine Ouali, 40, was arrested in the southwestern town of Bellizzi as part of a joint operation between counter-terrorism forces and Rome’s special operations police, local media reports. He is believed to have forged documents for bomb-maker Najim Laachraoui, who blew himself up at Brussels airport, and for Salah Abdeslam, a suspected core coordiantor of the Paris attacks.

A CCTV image from Brussels airport shows terrorists Najim Laachraoui and Ibrahim El Bakraoui beside the ‘man in white’ believed to be Faycal Cheffou. Picture: Belgian Federal Police via AP

A CCTV image from Brussels airport shows terrorists Najim Laachraoui and Ibrahim El Bakraoui beside the ‘man in white’ believed to be Faycal Cheffou. Picture: Belgian Federal Police via AP Source:AP

It’s alleged hundreds of digital photographs were seized as part of the raid, including pictures of three people who planned the Paris attacks. Ouali is expected to soon be extradited to Belgium.

With the investigation now spanning several countries, and increasing signs of links to the Paris attacks in November, Belgian authorities have called off a planned “march against fear” in the jittery capital on Sunday to relieve pressure on the police.

Organisers agreed, saying people’s security was a top priority.

The suspect known as the “man in white” wanted in relation to the airport bombing which killed 14 people was named by Belgian authorities as Faycal C and arrested outside the prosecutor’s office.

Brussels suicide bomers Khalid El Bakraoui, Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui.

Brussels suicide bomers Khalid El Bakraoui, Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui. Source:Supplied

Local media identify the man as Faycal Cheffou — a Belgian filmmaker and journalist — and suggest he is the man seen on the right of CCTV footage, in a pale-coloured jacket, walking with the two previously identified suicide bombers, Laachraoui and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, who detonated the two airport bombs.

Ibrahim’s brother Khalid carried out the Maelbeek metro attack. The second metro attacker is yet to be identified by authorities.

The “man in white” was believed to be planning to detonate a third bomb at the airport, which would have been the most powerful, but he fled after it failed to go off.

People gather at floral tributes at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels. Picture: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

People gather at floral tributes at a memorial site at the Place de la Bourse in Brussels. Picture: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Source:AP

Two other men, Aboubakar A and Rabah N, were also charged with terrorist activities and membership of a terrorist group.

Rabah N. was wanted in connection with a related raid in France this week that authorities say foiled an apparent attack plot. This was in relation to the arrest of Reda Kriket, after police found arms and explosives in a flat Kriket was using.

German politicians said Europe urgently needed to improve the way its security agencies share information amid increasing signs the same network was behind the attacks in Brussels and those in Paris in November.

Officials said 24 victims from nine different nationalities had been identified so far from the attacks in Brussels, which is the headquarters of the European Union and NATO. Four have yet to be identified. The remaining three are the suicide bombers.

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