Brussels attacks: Death toll hits 35 as police hunt suspect

Belgian police released video of man they are seeking. Picture: PA
Belgian police released video of man they are seeking. Picture: PA
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Belgian authorities have revealed the number of victims from last week’s airport and subway suicide bombings rose to 35 as three more people swept up in police raids were held on charges of participating in terrorist activities.

Belgian Federal Police also released a 32-second video of a mysterious man in a hat seen in the company of the airport suicide bombers, indicating that he could still be at large.

It was not clear if the three suspects ordered held by an investigating magistrate were linked to the 22 March attacks in Brussels. Those suspects – identified by Belgian prosecutors as Yassine A, Mohamed B, and Aboubaker O, were detained during 13 police searches on Sunday in Brussels and the northern cities of Mechelen and Duffel.

However, the man known as Faycal C, the only person arrested and charged with involvement in the Brussels attacks, was last night released for lack of evidence.

The Belgian Federal Prosecutors Office provided no details of the alleged actions committed by the suspects and said a fourth person also detained on Sunday was released without charge.

The bombings, the bloodiest tragedy in recent Belgian history, were claimed by the Islamic State group and confirmed Belgium’s status as an unwitting rear base from which Muslim extremists can stage attacks. Many of those responsible for the 13 November attacks in Paris that killed 130 and wounded hundreds came from Belgium.

Yesterday, Belgian health minister Maggie De Block announced on her Twitter account that four of those hospitalised after the bombings at the Brussels Airport and in a city subway train had died of their injuries.

She posted: “Four patients deceased in hospital. Medical teams did all possible. Total victims: 35. Courage to all the families.”

De Block reported over the weekend that 101 of those wounded in the blasts were still being treated in hospitals, including 32 in burn units. A doctor at one of those burn units who had once served in Afghanistan described patients’ wounds as shocking.

Authorities have said a man identified as Faycal C is among those in custody and has been charged with terror offences.

Belgian media had claimed the man was Faycal Cheffou and said he was the mysterious suspect in the white jacket and dark hat seen with the suicide bombers at Brussels Airport before the attacks.

Belgian police at the time would not comment on those reports.

But yesterday, the Federal Police website showed a short video of that same airport suspect as he wheels baggage through the airport along with the two bombers.