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Belgian Prosecutor's Office charges four with ‘terrorism offenses’ for Brussels attacks

Published April 10th, 2016 - 06:30 GMT
Belgian police in Brussels. (AFP/File)
Belgian police in Brussels. (AFP/File)

Mohamed Abrini, one of the suspects charged over last month’s Brussels attacks, has admitted his involvement, officials said Saturday.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office released a statement confirming that Abrini was the third man involved in the bombing of Zaventem Airport.

He was pictured in CCTV footage walking alongside two bombers who later killed themselves in the attack and became known as “the man in the hat”.

Abrini confessed to being at the scene of crime, the statement said, adding that he threw his explosive vest in a bin and sold his hat after the blasts.

He was among six men arrested on Friday over last month’s attacks. Four, including Abrini, have been charged with “participating in terrorist acts”.

They were identified by broadcaster VRT as Mohamed Abrini, Osama Krayem, Bilal El Mahkoukhi and Herve B.M.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office identified all the suspects apart from Abrini by their first name and the initials of their surname.

Abrini had also been wanted in connection with the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November.

The airport attack and another at a metro station left 32 dead.

Krayem has been identified as the second man involved in the Maalbeek metro station bombing, the prosecutor’s office said.

He was filmed talking to suicide bomber Khalid El Bakraoui at Petillon metro station just before the blast and was also present when the bags that contained the airport bombs were purchased at a shop in Brussels.

El Makhoukhi and Herve B.M., who were detained with Krayem, are suspected of having assisted Abrini and Krayem.

Last year, El Mahkoukhi was convicted over his involvement in Sharia4Belgium, an organization that recruited fighters for militant groups in Syria and Iraq. He was sentenced to five years in prison - three suspended - and was released under condition of electronic monitoring in March.

The other two men that were arrested have been released.

The suspects are believed by officials to be part of a Daesh-backed network that carried out both the Brussels and Paris attacks.

Also Saturday, armed police searched an apartment in Brussels’ Etterbeek district that police believe may have been used as a safe house.

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