Three face terror charges over Brussels attacks


Belgium Attacks
Three men have been charged with terrorist offences linked to the attacks in Brussels, Belgian prosecutors have said.

At least 32 people were killed and 270 injured when suicide bombs ripped through the city's airport and a Metro station on Tuesday.

A man identified as Faycal C was charged on Saturday for "involvement in a terrorist group, terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder", federal prosecutors said.

He was arrested on Thursday but a police raid on his home turned up no weapons or explosives.

According to Belgian media, a man called Faycal Cheffou is the "man in the white" - the suspected fugitive in a light-coloured jacket who fled Brussels' airport after two alleged accomplices blew themselves up there.

Prosecutors refused to comment on those reports but said two other suspects arrested on Thursday and identified as Rabah N and Aboubakar A have been charged with "involvement in the activities of a terrorist group".

A fourth man, taken into custody Friday after he was shot by police at a Brussels tram stop, is being held for at least 24 hours longer.

The list of confirmed victims has continued to grow and includes Briton David Dixon, 50, who was originally from Hartlepool but was living in the Belgian capital.

A statement issued on Friday by the Foreign Office on behalf of Mr Dixon's family said: "This morning we received the most terrible and devastating news about our beloved David. At this most painful time our family would gratefully appreciate it if we could be left alone to grieve in private. Please respect our wishes."

The Foreign Office said officials know of seven British nationals who were injured in the attacks, with three still being treated in hospital.

On Thursday police raided Brussels neighbourhoods in an operation the mayor said was linked to Tuesday's attacks and to the arrest in the Paris suburbs of a man who may have been plotting a new attack in France.

Three people were detained, with two of them shot in the leg, the federal prosecutor's office said.

The operation was conducted in the Schaerbeek district, which was raided on Thursday night, as well as the neighbourhoods of Forest and Saint-Gilles.

Belgium's state broadcaster said one person was carrying a bag of explosive material.

At a tram stop, a man sitting with a young girl and holding a bag was ordered by police "to put the bag far from him".

A local electrician Norman Kabir said that after the man did so, police shot him twice, hitting him in the leg.

The girl was taken into safe custody, and a bomb-squad robot searched the bag, he added.

The news came as US defence secretary Ash Carter said US forces had killed a senior Islamic State leader, among several key members of the militant group eliminated this week.

He identified the senior IS leader as Haji Imam and described him as the group's finance minister. He said he was a "well-known terrorist" who had a hand in terror plots outside of Iraq and Syria.

Three terrorists died in Tuesday's explosions and a massive manhunt was launched to track down other suspects believed to be behind the blasts.

Belgian security services were hunting two men pictured with the suicide bombers shortly before the attacks and believed to be on the run.

One of the men was caught on CCTV carrying a large bag and walking with jihadist Khalid El Bakraoui moments before the bomb detonated at the Metro station, according to state broadcaster RTBF and France's Le Monde newspaper.

Another of the suspected killers, dubbed "the man in white", was pictured pushing a trolley through Zaventem Airport with Najim Laachraoui - who Belgian federal prosecutors have confirmed with DNA analysis was one of the airport suicide bombers - and Khalid's brother Ibrahim before they blew themselves up.

Laachraoui, 24, is also the suspected bomb maker whose DNA was found on a suicide vest and bomb used in the Paris attacks.