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france 24 Europe

Belgium charges last terror suspect caught on Friday

© Patrik Stollarz, AFP | Police carried out a major anti-terror operation in Brussels on Friday, March 25, 2016.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-03-27

Belgium’s federal prosecutor on Sunday said a second man had been presented with terror charges after police carried out sweeping raids in the capital on Good Friday.

Two other men were arrested in the raids, but only one of them, Rabah N, has been charged with terror-related offences. The third man has been released. Rabah N has been linked to a foiled a plot to carry out an attack in France.

Meanwhile, police carried out a fresh round of anti-terror raids on Sunday, detaining a total of four suspects.

The raids took place in 13 locations in and around Brussels. Nine people were taken in for questioning "in the context of a terrorism file", with five subsequently released, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The man charged on Sunday, identified by Belgian media as Abderrahmane A, is suspected of participation in a terrorist group for his involvement in the apparent plot to attack France. In all, three people – two in Belgium and one in France - have now been charged in connections with those plans.

The planned French assault, which authorities say was at an “advanced stage”, was foiled on Thursday when French police arrested a man named Reda Kriket in the outskirts of Paris. Ready-to-use explosives and several handguns were then found during a search of his home in the northern Parisian suburb of Argenteuil. The findings then led police to Belgium, where police carried out more raids on Thursday and then again on Friday.

Abderrahmane A was shot in Friday’s operation after refusing to obey police orders. Amateur footage showed him lying on the ground by a tram stop, holding a backpack.

Connecting the dots

On Thursday, police arrested two men named Fayçal C and Aboubakar A. Although few details have been made available about Aboubakar A – who has been charged with taking part in terrorist activities – Fayçal C is suspected to be the fugitive airport bomber whose explosives failed to detonate in the Zaventem attack.

Fayçal C has been charged with taking part in a terrorist group, terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder.

His two accomplices, Najim Laachraoui and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, blew themselves up in the assault. El Bakraoui’s brother, Khalid, attacked the city’s metro in a suicide bombing, but police are still searching for an unknown accomplice of his.

A total of 31 people were killed in the airport and metro attacks.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

Date created : 2016-03-27

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