Belgian court prolongs detention of Brussels airport bomber

A Belgian court has prolonged the detention of a surviving bomber from the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels by one month, prosecutors said Thursday.

Mohamed Abrini, long sought in connection with the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, was arrested on April 8. He later confessed to being the fugitive third bomber who had helped target the Brussels airport in March.

More than 30 people were killed in suicide bombings at the airport and the Maelbeek underground railway station.

Abrini has been charged with terrorist murders, attempted terrorist murders and participation in the activities of a terrorist group over the Brussels attacks. The 31-year-old Belgian has also been charged with similar terrorist offences relating to the Paris attacks.

Abrini's exact role in the Paris killings is not known. He was spotted with key suspect Salah Abdeslam in the preceding days, and his fingerprints and DNA were found in a car used in the attacks, as well as at terrorist hideouts in Brussels.

Also on Thursday, the court prolonged by one month the detentions of five other men arrested in conjunction with the Brussels attacks.

They include a 23-year-old Swedish man identified as Ossama K, who is suspected of having been present at the attack on the Maelbeek station and of having purchased bags used in the airport attack.

Two other Belgian suspects - 30-year-old Herve B M and 27-year-old Bilal E M - are suspected of having offered assistance to Abrini and Ossama K.

The other suspects are Belgian nationals Smail F, 31, and Ibrahim F, 27. According to Belgian media, they are brothers.

They have been charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder, although their suspected level of involvement is unclear.

There have been suggestions that they are linked to the rental of an address in the Brussels suburb of Etterbeek from which the Maelbeek suicide bomber reportedly set off.

All of the suspects can appeal the court's decisions if they wish to do so.

Last update: Thu, 12/05/2016 - 19:03
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