Belgium Releases Video in Hunt for Third Airport Suspect

  • Man charged in March 22 attacks is released from custody
  • Brussels Airport CEO says to take months to return to normal

Belgian police released video footage of the third suspect in last week’s terrorist bombing at the Brussels airport in an appeal for information about the man.

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Another suspect, whom Belgian media had reported may have been the third bomber at the airport, was released from custody on Monday, the federal prosecutors office in Brussels said. The clues that led to the arrest of this suspect -- identified as Faycal C. -- were not supported by further investigation, according to a statement.

The surveillance-camera video posted on the website of the federal police on Monday shows a man in a white jacket and wearing a hat and glasses, pushing a luggage cart next to the two bombers who blew themselves up in the March 22 assaults. The video, about 30 seconds long, includes a slowed-down segment and close-ups of the man’s head.

The other two airport attackers have been identified as Ibrahim El Bakraoui, who was deported from Turkey last year on suspicions of planning to cross to Syria, and Najim Laachraoui, who was also sought in connection with the Paris attacks in November. The suicide blasts ripped through the departures hall at the airport in Zaventem. Officials there are testing repair work and temporary arrangements before making a decision on when to re-open the terminal to passengers on a partial basis.

Check-In System

If the tests on the temporary check-in system are successful, the airport could resume operations on Wednesday with reduced capacity, Brussels Airport Chief Executive Officer Arnaud Feist told local media. The provisional system will be able to handle 800 passengers an hour, compared with the normal capacity of 5,000. Feist said it will take months before the airport is back to normal operation.

The man identified as Faycal C. had been apprehended Thursday evening in the Belgian capital and was charged with terrorist murder and being part of a terrorist group in connection with the March 22 assaults, federal prosecutors said on Saturday. He was released by the investigating magistrate on Monday.

With Brussels trying to get back to normal over the long Easter weekend, the Belgian Health Ministry said on Monday that the number of victims of the twin attacks -- the one at the airport and another on the city’s subway -- increased to 35 after four people died in the hospital. The Maelbeek subway station, scene of the second bombing, remains closed to commuters but trains are able to pass through.

Meanwhile, Belgium’s national soccer team planned to hold a minute of silence on Tuesday in honor of the victims before a friendly match against Portugal. The game was moved to Leiria, Portugal, from Brussels following the terrorist attacks.

Three Suspects

As terrorism probes expanded in Belgium and neighboring countries, officials in Brussels charged three suspects -- identified as Yassine A., de Mohamed B. and de Aboubaker O. -- with participating in a terrorist group, the federal prosecutors office said on Monday. The charges followed police raids in several parts of the country on Sunday.

Counter-terrorism arrests also were made in Italy and the Netherlands over the weekend, as investigations advanced across Europe. Belgian prosecutors said an Algerian man arrested by Italian police is suspected of participating in a ring that produced falsified documents used by some of participants in the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and “probably also by Salah Abdeslam,” the only surviving suspect in those assaults.

The prosecutors are looking into whether the counterfeiters also provided fake documents to the bombers who struck the Belgian capital. The Algerian suspect, detained in Salerno on Saturday under a European arrest warrant requested by Belgium, was identified by Ansa news agency as Djamal Eddine Ouali.

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