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Belgium charges three more people with 'terrorist activities'

© Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP | A police officer gets out of a car outside the Council Chamber of Brussels on March 24, 2016 as part of investigations into the Paris and Brussels terror attacks.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-03-28

Belgian prosecutors on Monday named three new suspects and released CCTV video footage of the so-called man in the hat as part of a widening investigation into the March 22 bomb attacks at Brussels' Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek metro station.

The announcement that three more men had been charged with “terror activities” came as authorities raised the death toll from last week's devastating Islamic State (IS) group suicide attacks to 35 people.

Officials from the government's crisis centre said 31 victims died at the two attack sites and four had died in hospital. Three bombers were also killed when they detonated their explosives.

Police said they had charged the three additional suspects with participating in a terrorist group after a series of raids in recent days.

In a statement on Monday, the federal prosecutors identified the three charged as Yassine A., Mohamed B. and Aboubaker O., adding that they could not give further information about them at this stage.

They also said that they had released without charge a fourth man they had taken in for questioning.

Police announced on Sunday that they were holding four people following 13 new raids in and around Brussels and the northern port city of Antwerp.

The triple-suicide bombing in Brussels, considered the heart of the European Union, was Belgium’s worst-ever attack, which also left more than 300 people injured

New video

Meanwhile, Belgian police released new video footage of the third suspect, whose bomb failed to go off at the airport.

The footage shows the man wearing a hat and white jacket pushing a trolley with a large bag through the departure hall, next to suicide bombers Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui.

A police notice issued with the video – still images from which have previously been released – said that officers "want to identify this man".

Belgian media had earlier claimed the “third man” in the image was Fayçal Cheffou. Police at the time would not comment on those reports.

But hours after Belgian police released the new Zaventem airport CCTV footage Monday, the federal prosecutor’s office said a man identified as “Fayçal C.” had been released due to lack of evidence.

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(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

Date created : 2016-03-28

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