Brussels attack: Belgian authorities issue arrest warrant for new suspect

Earlier on Saturday Belgian media had named the third man seen at the airport with two bombers on Tuesday as Faycal Cheffou and said he was a freelance journalist.

By: AP | Brussels | Updated: March 26, 2016 7:30 pm
(Source: Reuters) Earlier on Saturday Belgian media had named the third man seen at the airport with two bombers on Tuesday as Faycal Cheffou and said he was a freelance journalist. (Source: Reuters)

Belgian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant Saturday for a new suspect in the attacks on the Brussels airport and subway as authorities moved to clean up damage caused by the explosions.

The federal prosecutor’s office said a warrant has been issued for a man only identified as Faycal C. He is wanted for “involvement in a terrorist group, terrorist killings and attempted terrorist killings,” the statement said.

A police raid was conducted at his home. No arms or explosives were found, prosecutors said.

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Belgian media are reporting that a man called Faycal Cheffou has been identified as the man suspected of fleeing Brussels airport after two alleged accomplices blew themselves up there.

The developments come as Brussels airport officials moved to assess the damage caused by twin explosions at the terminal on Tuesday.

Authorities have 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.

Brussels Airport, which handles 23.5 million passengers annually, said it would be Tuesday at the earliest before flights resume.

The transport disruptions will do little to ease the worries of jittery Europeans, who are wondering how many violent extremists remain at large, and where and when they might strike again.

Authorities believe both the Brussels attacks and the Nov. 13 bombings in Paris that killed 130 people were plotted from Belgium.

Heavily armed police swept into Brussels neighborhoods Friday in operations linked to the attacks. Signs of a large police operation remained visible Saturday at the quiet tram station in Schaerbeek district in Brussels where a man was shot.

The man, who was sitting with a young girl and holding a bag, was ordered by police “to put the bag far from him.” After he did so, police shot him twice.

Local residents have mixed feelings about the intervention.

“The security services are doing their work,” said Timotheee Bunkyezi, a 54-year-old student who believes that for such a large-scale operation, the intelligence the police were working on must have been solid.

But Marie-Madeleine Yamotia, a 40-year-old nurse who lives right opposite the bus stop, expressed concern for the child who was with the suspect.

“It’s traumatizing for the little one,” she said. “We don’t know. Is he really a suspect? Here, we doubt it a little.”