Belgian police have released new video of a wanted Brussels airport bombing suspect even as the lawyer for a Paris attacks suspect says his extradition may take a few more weeks.
Released Thursday in French and Flemish, the police video shows the minutes following the March 22 Zaventem Airport bombings and the apparent getaway of the third surviving suspect -- often identified in the media as "the man with the hat."
Local media previously released security camera video of the man at Zaventem Airport shortly before the bombings, wearing a hat and a light jacket and walking alongside suicide bombers Ibrahim el-Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui. All three men are seen pushing carts with bags on them.
With running commentary in French and Flemish, the police footage shows the third man leaving the airport after the bombs went off at 7:58 a.m. First he is walking, then he breaks into a jog. His face is not seen clearly in the new images.
Watch video released by FedPol Belgium:
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According to Belgian authorities, the man walked more then 10 kilometers in the ensuring hours, crossing the town of Zaventem with video finally showing him in the Schaerbeek area of Brussels, before disappearing at a crossroads at 09:50 local time.
Police say he got rid of his jacket along the way, and subsequent footage shows him in shirtsleeves. He is described as wearing a light blue shirt, dark pants and brown shoes with wide white soles.
Asking for citizens' help
Belgian police have released local and international phone numbers for people to call if they have any information on the man or a jacket that looks like the one in the video.
The Brussels airport attacks, along with a suicide bombing at the Maelbeek metro station in the Belgian capital about an hour later, killed 32 people and wounded more than 340.
Ibrahim el-Bakraoui’s brother, Khalid, was named as the suicide bomber in the metro attack. Both brothers had criminal records. Turkish authorities had earlier caught Ibrahim el-Bakraoui trying to cross into Syria and deported him.
Authorities have found a tangle of links between the Brussels attacks suspects and those involved in the November attacks in Paris — including surviving Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to have been in charge of logistics. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Born in France but brought up in Belgium, Abdeslam was arrested days before the Brussels attacks and is currently in a high-security Belgian prison awaiting extradition to France. That move had been expected to be imminent, but his Belgian lawyer, Sven Mary, told journalists Thursday that Abdeslam’s extradition would not happen for several weeks.
Lawyer Mary also said Abdeslam was not formally implicated to date in the Brussels attacks.
Criticism of intelligence lapses
Belgian authorities have been sharply criticized for intelligence lapses leading up to the attacks.
The country’s justice and interior ministers both tendered their resignations, which Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel refused to accept.
Last month, Belgian authorities said they had arrested the suspected "man with the hat," who the prosecutors’ office identified as Faycal C., before releasing him days later, apparently for lack of sufficient evidence.
Media identified him early on as Faycal Cheffou, a self-styled freelance journalist. In interviews after his release, Cheffou said the arrest had “ruined” his life.