Two More Suspects Charged in Brussels Attack Probe


The Belgian federal prosecutor announced Tuesday that two more suspects have been charged in connection with last month’s terrorist attacks on the city’s airport and metro.

Prosecutors claim the men – initially identified only as Ibrahim F., born in 1988, and Samil F., born in 1984 – were linked to the rental of an apartment in Brussels that appeared to serve as a safe house before the March 22 attacks that killed 32 people.

Investigators suspect that Khalid el-Bakraoui, 27, may have left the apartment before he detonated a suicide bomb in a Brussels metro train at the Maelbeek station, near the headquarters of the European Union. Earlier, twin suicide blasts struck Brussels Airport.

Over the past weeks, Belgian authorities have made a series of arrests linked to a Brussels-based terrorist cell that planned the Brussels attacks and a deadly rampage in November in Paris that killed 130 people. Both attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State.

Ties between the two attacks – each respectively the deadliest on French and Belgian soil since World War II – have become increasingly clear.

A key suspect arrested Friday, Mohamed Abrini, 31, the so-called “man in the hat” seen in surveillance video before the Brussels airport blasts, had also been spotted by cameras driving one of the alleged Paris attackers across the French-Belgian border before the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.

On Sunday, prosecutors said the terrorist cell – a web of predominately young, European-born men quietly radicalized within Europe – had initially planned a second attack on France but had chosen to act in Brussels in advance of an encroaching investigation.

Belgian authorities have not released any specific information on the apparent abandoned French attack. A spokesperson for the Belgian Federal Prosecutor did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

(c) 2016, The Washington Post · James McAuley