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Belgian police free suspect, not enough evidence

Last Updated Mar 28, 2016 at 1:06 pm PDT

Floral tributes placed outside the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels (AP)
Summary

Security forces in Europe conducted another 13 raids over the weekend

Man detained by Belgian authorities in connection with the Brussels attacks has been released

BRUSSELS (NEWS 1130) – A man detained by Belgian authorities in connection with the Brussels attacks has been released by a judge. The judge found there was no evidence to justify holding Faycal C., the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement Monday.

Prosecutors had reported earlier that Fayal C. was facing preliminary charges of “involvement in a terrorist group, terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder.” Belgian media had claimed the man ” who they identified as Fayal Cheffou ” had been seen on video with the suicide bombers at the airport on Tuesday morning before the attacks.

But police on Monday released airport surveillance video of a man with the two airport suicide bombers and asked for the public’s help in establishing his identity.

The website of Belgium’s Federal Police is carrying the 32-second video of a mysterious man in a hat suspected of having taking part in the March 22 bombing of Brussels Airport.

“The police are seeking to identify this man,” the site says. The implication is that the suspected accomplice of the two airport suicide bombers could still be at large. The video shows the man, wearing glasses and a white jacket, wheeling a baggage cart through the airport along with the two men identified by Belgian authorities as the bombers.

Police did not add anything, and did not say why they had released the video.

The Belgian health minister says four of those wounded in the suicide bombings last week have died in the hospital, bringing the number of victims of the bombings to 35. The minister, Maggie De Block, made the announcement on her Twitter account Monday morning. She posted: “Four patients deceased in hospital. Medical teams did all possible. Total victims: 35. Courage to all the families.”

Belgian prosecutors say three people have been ordered held on charges of participating in terrorist group activities They were among four people detained during Sunday searches in Brussels and the northern cities of Mechelen and Duffel.

They did not release details on the alleged terrorist actions or whether they were linked to the March 22 suicide bombings at Brussels airport and in the Brussels subway. The fourth person has been released without charge, according to a statement from the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office Monday. Those charged by the investigating magistrate were identified only as Yassine A., Mohamed B. and Aboubaker O.

The Brussels Airport will test its capacity to partially resume passenger service. But it’s too early to say when service might actually resume, an airport official said Monday.

Florence Muls, the airport’s external communications manager, said 800 staff members on Tuesday will test temporary infrastructure and new arrangements designed for passenger check-in. The Belgian government must approve the new system, Muls said, before the airport can resume handling passenger traffic.

Two suicide bombers on March 22 caused great damage to the airport’s departure hall, and along with another suicide bomber who blew himself up on a Brussels subway train, killed at least 31 people and injured some 270.