Paris terrorism suspect Mohamed Abrini was charged in Belgium on Saturday with terrorist murders and lead participation in the activities of a terrorist group, over his alleged role in the November attacks in Paris that left 130 dead.

Abrini was arrested on Friday, alongside five others, amid a separate investigation into suicide attacks in Brussels last month that left 32 people dead. Three other men were charged Saturday with serious terrorism-related offences in that context. Two were released.

Belgian authorities are investigating whether Abrini was involved in the events on March 22, when two bombers blew themselves up at the Brussels international airport and a third in an underground railway station.

Following Abrini's arrest, Belgian media had reported that he was "more than likely" to also be a fugitive suspect who had left behind a bomb during the suicide attacks on Brussels airport.

But the prosecution said Saturday that it was "not possible yet to confirm" that Abrini is the sought-after attacker, who has become known as the "man with the hat," based on video surveillance of him.

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

However, the prosecution did confirm that Osama K, who was also arrested Friday, was a second suspect present at the suicide blast in the Brussels underground carriage. Media had previously reported about a second metro attacker, but officials had not confirmed it.

Osama K had also been filmed at a shopping mall in central Brussels buying bags used in the airport attack, the prosecution said. He has been identified in Belgian media as Osama Krayem, a Swedish national.

He was charged with terrorist murders and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.

Two other men arrested on Friday - identified by the prosecution as Herve B M, a Rwandan national, and Bilal E M - were charged with complicity in terrorist murders and participation in the activities of a terrorist group, in connection with the Brussels attacks.

They are both suspected of offering assistance to Abrini and Osama K, the prosecution wrote in a statement, without giving details.

Belgian prosecutors had announced the arrest of five people on Friday. Local media first reported the sixth man earlier Saturday, naming him as Bilal El Makhoukhi, a suspect condemned last year in a mass trial against members of the terrorist group Sharia4Belgium.

El Makhoukhi had been sentenced to five years in prison but was released early, the Belgian broadcaster VRT and De Standaard newspaper reported.

Two people arrested with Abrini on Friday were released after "thorough interrogation," the prosecution said in a statement.

It further said that a raid was carried out Saturday on an apartment in the Brussels neighbourhood of Etterbeck that was "possibly used as a safe house by the terrorist group," in addition to searches Friday in a possible residence of Abrini, a residence of Herve B M and the home of Bilal E M.

No weapons or explosives were found on any of these premises.

Meanwhile, the Belgian government agreed early Saturday to increase its spending on security as well as supporting economic sectors hit by last month's terrorist attacks on Brussels, as it finalized its budget plans, the Belga news agency reported.

Latest news

Plane crashes at airport in Melbourne

A five-passenger charter plane has crashed into a building next to Essendon Airport in Melbourne, with witnesses reporting explosions, fire and black smoke, police said Tuesday.

Air France pilots give green light to lower cost subsidiary

Members of Air France's main pilots union on Monday voted to accept the creation of a new lower cost subsidiary that the flag carrier hopes will help it compete on long-haul routes.

US Army General McMaster tapped as Trump's national security advisor

Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster will be the new White House national security advisor, US President Donald Trump told reporters Monday.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

President wants to recall "politically appointed ambassadors", can't do it without gov't

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that many politically appointed Croatian ambassadors were not carrying out state policies but that she could not replace them without the government to appoint career diplomats who would fight for Croatia's interests.

Izetbegovic hopes ICJ will confirm Serbia's responsibility for genocide

The Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday rejected criticism stirred up by the announcement that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement made after Bosnia sued Serbia for genocide.

British lawmakers locked in heated debate over Trump's state visit

Allowing US President Donald Trump to visit Britain would be akin to "pimping out the Queen," one British lawmaker said Monday during a heated debate in British parliament over two petitions concerning the US leader's future state visit.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's sharp-tongued ambassador to the UN, dies

Russia's long-time ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York on Monday, following a career that spanned four decades and saw Russia emerge from the Soviet Union and experience many turbulent events in its relations with the West.

French police raid National Front over European Parliament payments

France's far-right National Front Monday said that investigators had searched its offices in relation to allegations that it misused European Parliament funds.

Unhappy Presidents' Day: Trump still manoeuvring after Sweden comment

Donald Trump used his first Presidents' Day in office to continue trying to talk his way out of comments implying a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.

Croatia supports Kosovo's territorial integrity - Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed the support to Kosovo's territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations during her talks with the visiting Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Petrov rules out early parliamentary election

Parliament Speaker and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov on Monday dismissed speculation about a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority, saying an early election was likelier, but that right now he did not see "such a scenario."