Two More Charged In Brussels Terror Attacks, & Faycal Cheffou Might Be 'The Man In The Hat'
On Saturday, Brussels attack updates continued to surface in both Belgian media and through the federal prosecutor's office. The biggest news to develop overnight is that "the man in the hat" seen in CCTV footage during the attacks in Brussels has been identified as Faycal Cheffou by Belgian media, though federal prosecution has not confirmed his identity as the third suspect seen in the footage. This news comes amid continued counterterrorism sweeps, which have revealed even more possible links to the Paris terror attack in November.
Belgian officials said in a statement on Saturday that Cheffou, identified by the office as "Faycal C," was charged with participation in a terrorist group, terrorist murder, and attempted terrorist murder. The prosecutor's office said that "Faycal C" was one of the six people detained during raids on Thursday. If Cheffou is, indeed, the third suspect seen in the video, this is a big nab for Belgian officials. "The man in the hat" was seen pushing a cart with a 35-pound bomb that did not detonate. He has been at large since the attack on Tuesday that killed 31 people.
Although federal officials have not confirmed that it is Cheffou, Faycal C is the first person in the wake of the attacks to be charged with attempted terrorist murder or terrorist murder, which is perhaps why Belgian media seems to believe that Cheffou is the third person shown in the footage. Belgian paper Le Soir also cited an unnamed source who told the outlet that he was positively identified by a taxi driver that took him to the airport.
Federal prosecutors also said in the statement that a second man, identified as "Aboubakar A," has been charged with participation in a terrorist group, but did not specify exactly how, or if, he was related to the attacks. Aboubakar A was also arrested on Thursday night.
The recent counterterrorism sweeps, which have spread across several European countries, have thwarted what French President François Hollande said was an plan for another attack. While praising the work of police, Hollande cautioned: "Even if the one that carried out the attacks in Paris and in Brussels is in the process of being wiped out — with a certain number of its members arrested — there is always a threat weighing upon us."
It has also been reported that a 28-year-old German man has been detained and has possible connections with Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, one of the suicide bombers in the airport. German officials also reported that a 28-year-old Moroccan man has been arrested, who had what The New York Times called "circumstantial links" to the suspects in both the Paris and Brussels attacks.