Paris, Brussels suspects charged with 'terrorist murders'

Belgium prosecutors announce four Paris and Brussels attacks suspects, including Mohamed Abrini, have been charged with 'terrorist murders' after they were arrested in Belgium on Friday

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Federal prosecutor spokesmen Thierry Werts (L) and Eric Van Der Sypt address a news conference about a suspect in the attack which took place at the Brussels international airport of Zaventem, in Brussels, Belgium April 7, 2016.

Updated Apr 13, 2016

Belgian prosecutors said Saturday that four key deadly Paris and Brussels attacks suspects, including Mohamed Abrini have been charged with "participation in the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murders" after they were arrested in a series of raids Friday.

Rwandan national Herve B.M. and Bilal E.M. have also charged with taking part in a terrorist organisation and terrorist murders.

But the prosecutor's office said in a statement, "it was not possible to confirm that Mohamed Abrini indeed was the third suspect yet", the so-called "man in the hat" seen with the two suicide bombers at Brussels airport on March 22.

Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini nabbed in Belgium. (Reuters)

Osama K. was identified as the man who appeared with the suicide bomber at the Malbeek subway station and the one who bought bags used to conceal the bombs set off by two suicide attackers at the airport on March 22, the statement said.

It said both were charged with "participation in the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murders," the first in connection with the November 13 Paris attacks and the second in the Brussels attacks.

It said two people arrested with Abrini were released following a "thorough investigation."  

Another suspect who was arrested Friday at the same time as Osama K. was identified as 25-year-old Rwandan national Herve B.M., who is "suspected of having offered assistance to Mohamed Abrini as well as Osama K.," the statement said.

He is charged with participating in the activities of terrorist group and "complicity in terrorist murders," it said.

It added that another man, Bilal E.M., was charged with participating in "the activities of a terrorist group and complicity in terrorist murders" over suspicions he helped Abrini and Osama K. 

Immediately after the March 22 Brussels attacks there was intense speculation that Abrini was the third man seen on CCTV with the two suicide bombers at the airport shortly before they blew themselves up. 

A police video released Thursday showed this third man, wearing a hat and light-coloured jacket, fleeing the scene and making his way back on foot into central Brussels where he disappeared from view.

"At the moment, the investigators are verifying whether Abrini can be positively identified as being the third person present during the attacks in Brussels National Airport (Zaventem), the so-called 'man with the hat'," the spokesman said.