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Three Charged In Connection With Brussels Attacks

  • RFE/RL

The March Against Fear had been due to begin at the central Place de La Bourse, which has turned into a shrine to the victims of the Brussels bomb attacks.

The March Against Fear had been due to begin at the central Place de La Bourse, which has turned into a shrine to the victims of the Brussels bomb attacks.

Belgian prosecutors announced on March 26 that three men who have been arrested in the wake of the attacks in Brussels have now been charged with terrorist offences.

The attacks on March 22 killed 31 people and wounded 300 others.

Media reports said that one of those charged, identified by prosecutors only as Faycal C., may be the man suspected of fleeing Brussels airport after two alleged accomplices carried out suicide attacks there.

However, state broadcaster RTDF reported that authorities were waiting for DNA analyses to confirm this information.

Belgian media identified the full name of Faycal C. as Faycal Cheffou. They said his home was searched by police but no weapons or explosives were found.

Brussels police arrested three people on March 25 in connection with the bombings, as well as with a would-be terrorist attack in Paris that police reportedly foiled on March 24.

Belgian state television said one of the arrested people was carrying a bag of explosives.

On March 26, an Algerian national wanted by Belgium was arrested in Italy in connection with a probe into fake ID documents used by the attackers behind the Paris and Brussels attacks, Italian media reported.

The suspect, named as Djamal Eddine Ouali, 40, was detained under a European arrest warrant in the southern region of Salerno, the reports said.

Meanwhile, organizers cancelled a "March Against Fear" rally planned in Brussels for March 27 after authorities urged citizens not to attend due to security concerns.

The rally organizers said in a statement March 26 that "we join the authorities in proposing a delay and ask people not to come this Sunday."

The statement came hours after Interior Minister Jan Jambon on March 26 asked Belgians not to hold the rally.

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said the rally should be delayed by several weeks.

Organizers had said the march was planned to show that Brussels and the country at large refuse to be intimidated by terrorism after the attacks.

The march had been due to begin at 1400 local time (1300 GMT) at the central Place de La Bourse which, carpeted with flowers and tributes, has turned into a shrine to the victims.

Meanwhile the Brussels airport will not reopen for passenger flights at least before March 29, the airport said in a statement posted on its website on March 26.

The airport said it will implement "new security measures" following the suicide bomb attacks that targeted the airport as well as a Brussels metro station on March 22

The airport check-in area suffered extensive damage when two blasts seconds apart hit the departures hall.

The airport authority said that a "provisional analysis" on March 26 showed that the main building housing the departure hall is stable and it will now see if temporary check-in desks can be installed.

Belgium officials have identified the two airport suicide bombers as Najim Laachraoui and Ibrahim El Bakraoui.

Khalid El Bakraoui, Ibrahim’s brother, detonated his suicide vest at the Maelbeek subway stop in Brussels.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, AP, and RTL