Here’s What’s Happening:
- ISIS claimed responsibility for terror attacks at two crowded commuter hubs in Belgium on March 22.
- Two suicide bombs were detonated at Brussels Airport in Zaventem. About an hour later there was a blast on a rush-hour subway car as it pulled away from Maelbeek metro station, just steps away from the European Union headquarters.
- Authorities said 32 people died as a result of the attacks (excluding the three suicide bombers) and at least 340 people were injured.
- The attackers initially planned to strike the day after Easter — but the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, who is a key suspect in the November attacks in Paris, caused them to move up the timeline, BuzzFeed News first reported.
- Several suspects have been identified, including Belgian brothers Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui. Ibrahim is thought to have detonated a bomb at the airport, Khalid at the subway station.
- Najim Laachraoui, also Belgian, was an airport suicide bomber.
- On April 8, Belgian authorities said they had arrested two men: Mohamed Abrini in connection with the earlier attacks in Paris, and Osama Krayem.
- On April 9, authorities charged Abrini and “Osama. K”, as well as two other men, with terrorism offenses. Abrini also confessed to being the so-called “man in hat,” filmed alongside the other airport suicide bombers.
- On April 10, prosecutors said the Brussels cell had initially planned on launching another attack in France.
- On April 12, two more men — identified as Smaïl F. and Ibrahim F. — were charged with terrorism offenses.
- Here is everything we know about the suspects. Here is a list of the victims.
Three detained in Brussels with suspected connection to Paris attacks released without charge.
Three people with alleged connections to the November Paris attack were arrested in Brussels on Tuesday, according to the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s office. They were picked up after the search in the Uccle neighborhood.
On Wednesday, the prosecutor’s office released another statement saying they had been released without charge.
Belgian authorities charge two more people with terrorism offenses after Brussels attack
Prosecutors in Belgium charged two men with terrorism offenses related to last month’s bombings in Brussels on Monday.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office identified the men as Smaïl F. and Ibrahim F. The statement read:
Yesterday, the Investigating Judge specialized in terrorism cases who is in charge of the investigation into the Brussels and Zaventem attacks of last March 22, has put into custody Smaïl F., born in 1984, and Ibrahim F., born in 1988.
They are charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murders and attempts to commit terrorist murders, as a perpetrator, co-perpetrator or accomplice.
There are indications they can be linked to the rental of the address Avenue des Casernes in Etterbeek. In the current state of the investigation which is continuing actively, day and night, no further information whatsoever can be released.
Brussels attackers initially wanted to target France again
The terrorist cell that killed 32 people in Brussels had initially planned on launching another attack in France, Belgian prosecutors said Sunday.
The attackers who struck the Belgian capital on March 22 were “surprised by the speed of the progress in the ongoing investigation,” Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Raids and arrests by authorities, including taking Paris fugitive Salah Abdeslam into custody, convinced the attackers to rush attacks in Brussels, prosecutors said.
Authorities have already established multiple links between the Brussels cell and the ISIS-linked attack that killed 130 people in Paris in November.
“The Federal Prosecution Office can confirm that numerous elements in the investigation have shown that the terrorist group initially had the intention to strike in France again,” prosecutors said. “Eventually, surprised by the speed of the progress in the ongoing investigation, they urgently took the decision to strike in Brussels.”
A former French intelligence officer told the New York Times the intended targets in Paris were La Défense, a large commercial district to the northwest of the city center, and an unidentified Catholic association.
Belgian authorities identify third airport suspect as Mohamed Abrini
Two and a half weeks after the Brussels terrorist attacks, Belgian authorities on Saturday confirmed they had captured the third suspect sought in connection with the bombings at the city’s airport.
Mohamed Abrini, who was arrested Friday and charged with terrorism offenses on Saturday, admitted to being the so-called “man in the hat” spotted on surveillance footage with the other bombers prior to the blasts.
In a statement, Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office said Saturday it had confirmed his identify based on a confession.
“After being confronted with the results of the different expert examinations, he confessed his presence at the crime scene,” the statement read. “He explained having thrown away his vest in a garbage bin and having sold his hat afterwards.”
Belgian police had released a number of images and surveillance video of the suspect in a bid to identify him.
Belgian authorities charge four men with terrorism offenses
Mohamed Abrini, a suspect in the Paris terrorist attacks, and three other men were placed in detention by a Belgian judge on Saturday and charged with terrorism offenses.
Abrini, who was one of several people detained during a raid on Friday, was one of Europe’s most-wanted men, suspected of driving assailants during November’s Paris attacks.
In a statement, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said Abrini was “charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murders.”
Two other people arrested alongside Abrini were released, authorities said.
The prosecutor’s office added that it was still too early to say whether Abrini was the third suspect (the so-called man in the hat) sought in connection with the attack on Brussels airport.
Authorities said they had also charged an Osama K., believed to be Osama Krayem, with the same terrorism offenses as Abrini.
Officials said investigators were able “to formally identify Osama K. as being the second person present at the attacks on the Maelbeek subway station. Thus, he was also present in the City2 shopping mall when purchasing the bags that were used later in the attacks.”
A Rwandan man, Hervé B.M., arrested alongside Osama K., was also charged with the same terrorism offenses, with authorities saying he is suspected of having provided assistance to Abrini and Osama K.
A fourth man arrested Friday night, Bilal E.M., was also charged with belonging to a terrorist group and “terrorist murders.” — David Mack
Belgian authorities: Unclear if Mohamed Abrini is “man in the hat”
Belgian prosecutors said they are still working to verify if Mohamed Abrini, a suspect in the Paris terrorist attacks, could also be the mysterious “man in the hat” wanted in the bombing of the Zaventern airport in Brussels.
Abrini was one of five people detained during a raid Friday, ending an international manhunt that began when authorities said he was linked to the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.
On Friday, Belgian authorities said they were investigating whether Abrini might have been the third suspect captured on video moments before the bombing attacks in Brussels, the Associated Press reported, wearing a hat and accompanied by two other men.
“We are investigating if Abrini can be identified as the third person at the Brussels national airport, the so-called man with the hat,” prosecutor Eric Van de Sypt said.
Belgian authorities arrest Mohamed Abrini and Osama Krayem.
Belgian authorities told CNN Friday they arrested Mohamed Abrini — wanted for driving the assailants in the Paris terror attacks and Osama Krayem.
Eric Van der Sypt, a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office
said Abrini, 31, is Belgian-Moroccan and was one of the most wanted men in Europe.
Belgian prosecutors release footage of the “man in hat” seen with the suicide bombers on March 22.
Belgian authorities on Thursday released a video showing a suspect, identified as “man in hat,” whom they believe worked with the suicide bombers in the March 22 attack that killed a total of 32 people.
Authorities also made an appeal to the public to contact police if they had any information about the man.
The footage shows the man, who wears a dark-colored hat, blue shirt, white jacket (which he at some point removed) and brown shoes, in various locations throughout Brussels between 7:58 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. on March 22.
Belgian Federal Prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said that authorities were particularly interested in hearing from people who may have captured the man in a photo or video, according to the Associated Press.
The first passenger flight since the terrorist attacks has left Brussels Airport.
The first passenger flight since the March 22 suicide bombings has taken off from Brussels Airport.
Three passenger flights are scheduled to depart the airport Sunday. Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist said the three flights were “a sign of hope” that even partial passenger service could resume so soon following “the darkest days in the history of aviation in Belgium.”
The first plane to leave will travel to the Portuguese city of Faro. The other two flights are to Athens and Turin in Italy.
Brussels Airport set to re-open Sunday with limited flights.
Brussels Airport is scheduled to partially re-open on Sunday with its first flights at the terminal since the March 22 terrorist attacks, the airport CEO said Saturday.
Speaking to reporters in the Belgian capital, Arnaud Feist said three flights from Brussels Airlines, the country’s main carrier, are expected run on Sunday as part of extremely limited service.
“We have consciously opted for a limited offer that can evolve gradually over time,” he said.
Full passenger service will be restored by June or July in time for the European summer crowds, he said
An initial analysis of the damage to Brussels Airport found that the terminal building’s structure was stable in the aftermath of the deadly suicide bombings.
Watch the press conference here:
Another man has been charged with terrorism offenses by Belgian authorities.
The Belgian prosecutor has confirmed a Belgian man, known only as Y.A., has been charged with participating in a terrorist group.
The man was arrested as part of the investigation that led to the arrest of Reda Kriket in Argenteuil in France last month.
Kriket, who is French, was said to be in the final stages of plotting an attack in France when he was arrested.
The Belgian national, who was born on May 4, 1982, has been put in custody by an investigating judge.
He has been charged with participation to the activities of a terrorist group.
The Belgian prosecutor declined to provide any further information.
Police strike delays Brussels airport reopening.
Members of Belgium’s largest police union said Friday they’d gone on strike at the Brussels airport to protest what they said were unsafe working conditions, the BBC reported.
The labor action will delay the airport’s reopening, which had been scheduled for Friday afternoon.
“We are on strike because of what happened on 22 March - we cannot continue as if this day has not happened,” Vincent Gilles, the union’s president, told the British broadcaster. “The police feel the security measures put in place by the airport company are insufficient for those who work and use the airport.”
The union’s demands include the installation of metal detectors outside the building, to prevent people from bringing explosives into the terminals. The Belgian authorities have opposed such measures, arguing that they would create unnecessary longer waiting times.
FBI told Dutch investigators el-Bakraoui brothers were wanted a week before the Brussels attacks.
A Dutch minister has confirmed Dutch investigations were tipped off that the Brussels attackers Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui were wanted for their “radical and terrorist background” by the FBI.
The FBI told Dutch authorities the two brothers were wanted less than a week before they blew themselves up, the Associated Press reported.
Ard van der Steur, the Dutch interior minister, was responding to questions about the brothers in Parliament when he revealed the authorities had been tipped off.
BuzzFeed News revealed Ibrahim was deported to the Netherlands from Turkey in July 2015, a month after being picked up by Turkish police near the Syrian border.
But the Netherlands said that when he arrived his name did not appear on any wanted lists and he was not detained.
“On 16 March, the FBI informed Dutch police … that both brothers were sought by Belgian authorities,” van der Steur said in a letter to Dutch MPs.
Van der Steur said the FBI told the Dutch authorities that Ibrahim was sought by the Belgian authorities for “his criminal background”, while Khalid was wanted for “terrorism, extremism and recruitment”.
The timing of the note and why it was sent to the Dutch by the FBI has not been detailed.
Belgian authorities said Tuesday they were not informed of the note and had no idea where the El Bakroaui brothers were before the Brussels bombings.
Floor plan of Belgian Prime Minister’s office found on Brussels attackers’ laptop.
A detailed file containing a floor plan and photographs of the Belgian Prime Minister’s office were found on a laptop discarded by one of the Brussels attacks bombers, Belgian media report.
The De Tijd and L’Echo newspapers reported “reliable sources” had told them the computer contained information about Rue de la Loi 16 and the prime minister’s official residence in Lambermont Street.
The computer was found during raids on Rue Max Roos in the Schaerbeek section of Brussels just hours after the attacks on March 22.
A Belgian official familiar with the investigation confirmed the reports to the New York Times.
Investigators also found the will of one of the bombers, Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, on the same computer.
Death toll in Brussels attacks revised to 32 people
All 32 victims of the Brussels attacks have been identified, authorities said Tuesday.
Belgian authorities had previously said there were 35 victims, not including the suicide bombers. On Tuesday, with each identity officially determined, authorities said several people had been counted twice on different lists.
Of the dead, 17 were Belgians and 15 were foreigners. Ninety people remained hospitalized in Belgium, many in intensive care or receiving burn treatment.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.