News / Europe

    Arrest Warrant Issued for New Suspect in Brussels Attacks

    Belgian soldiers patrol in the Grand Place of Brussels following Tuesday's bombings in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2016.
    Belgian soldiers patrol in the Grand Place of Brussels following Tuesday's bombings in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2016.
    Cindy SaineIsabela Cocoli

    Belgian prosecutors have identified and issued an arrest warrant for a new suspect in Tuesday’s attacks on the Brussels airport and a metro station.

    The federal prosecutor's office said in a statement Saturday that it issued an arrest warrant for a man it only identified as Faycal C. for “involvement in a terrorist group, terrorist killings and attempted terrorist killings.”

    The statement did not confirm that Faycal C. is the third Brussels airport suicide bomber seen in airport security camera video alongside two men who blew themselves up there.  
     
    Belgian media reported that a man named Faycal Cheffou was suspected of fleeing the Brussels airport.

    Photo released by Belgian federal police on demand of Federal prosecutor shows screengrab of airport CCTV camera showing suspects of this morning's attacks at Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, March 22, 2016.
    Photo released by Belgian federal police on demand of Federal prosecutor shows screengrab of airport CCTV camera showing suspects of this morning's attacks at Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, March 22, 2016.

    3 detained in counterterrorism raids

    On Friday Belgian prosecutors said three people were detained in a counterterrorism operation in Brussels prompted by the arrest Thursday of a Frenchman in the Paris area suspected of plotting a new attack.
     
    The Belgian prosecutor's office confirmed in a statement that Friday’s arrests were conducted in three districts of the capital - Schaerbeek, Forest and Saint-Gilles. Two of the three suspects were wounded in the leg.

    The statement also said that investigators used DNA tests to determine that Najim Laachraoui was one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up in the Brussels airport on Tuesday.

    Laachraoui was also linked to the November 13 Paris attacks, in which 130 people died. His DNA was found on a suicide vest and a piece of cloth discovered at the Bataclan concert hall where 90 people were killed.

    WATCH: Heather Murdock on the scene in Molenbeek

    On The Scene: Molenbeek Belgiumi
    X
    March 25, 2016 4:28 PM
    VOA's Heather Murdock reports from the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium where it's been a trying week after Tuesday's bombings that left 31 people dead and 300 injured.

    Kerry honors victims

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Brussels on Friday for talks with Belgian and European leaders about the attacks. During his visit, he said U.S. and coalition members had a message for anyone who would kill and wound innocent civilians going about their everyday lives.

    WATCH: Secretary of State Kerry in Brussels

    Concerns Linger About Belgium’s Security as Kerry Pays Tributei
    X
    Pamela Dockins
    March 25, 2016 8:24 PM
    Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would continue to provide any assistance needed to Belgium in the aftermath of this week’s “heinous acts of terrorism.” He commented during a whirlwind visit to Brussels on Friday that included talks with Prime Minister Charles Michel and a tribute to victims. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.

     

    "We will not be deterred. We will come back with greater resolve, with greater strength, and we will not rest until we have eliminated your nihilistic beliefs and cowardice from the face of the Earth."

    Speaking with VOA and other reporters in Brussels, Kerry declined to blame the Belgian government for not thwarting the attacks, saying, "carping" afterward was "inappropriate."  He said the U.S. and Belgium had already scheduled a number of counterterrorism training sessions. 

    WATCH: Related video report by Jeff Seldin

    Belgium’s Counterterror Struggles Underscore Long-Simmering Concernsi
    X
    Jeff Seldin
    March 24, 2016 11:22 PM
    The scramble by Belgium’s security agencies following the Brussels terror attacks is putting the country’s counterterrorism apparatus under an intense spotlight, with criticism pouring in from around the world. VOA national security correspondent Jeff Seldin reports.

    2 Americans killed

    The three blasts touched off Tuesday in Brussels killed 31 people and injured about 300. A senior U.S. official confirmed that two Americans were among the dead.

    U.S. officials have told reporters that the brothers who carried out the attacks, Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, were on a terrorism watch list in the United States.

    Belgian federal prosecutors said six people had been detained for possible links to the attacks.

    Police and other emergency workers stand in front of the damaged Zaventem Airport terminal in Brussels on March 23, 2016.
    Police and other emergency workers stand in front of the damaged Zaventem Airport terminal in Brussels on March 23, 2016.

    Meeting Thursday near one of the attack sites, European Union justice and interior ministers pledged to deepen joint intelligence gathering and swiftly push through measures to share airline passenger information and step up the fight against terrorism.

    “We don’t need new plans; we need to fully implement the plans and measures that have been taken,” said Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk of the Netherlands, which currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.

    People holding a banner reading "I am Brussels" behind flowers and candles to mourn for the victims at Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels, March 22, 2016.
    People holding a banner reading "I am Brussels" behind flowers and candles to mourn for the victims at Place de la Bourse in the center of Brussels, March 22, 2016.

    The emergency meeting offered a stark counterpart to the EU’s usually staid gatherings, especially since it took place near the Maalbeek metro station, one of the targets of the attacks.

    "Everybody feels the attack on Belgium was an attack on Europe and the values we stand for together," Plasterk said. "Europe has been under attack before, but we’ve always defended liberty and democracy and we will do that together."

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