Belgium seeks more information on 'man in the hat'

The man in a light jacket was seen pushing a trolley with a suitcase on it in surveillance camera footage.
The man in a light jacket was seen pushing a trolley with a suitcase on it in surveillance camera footage.PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - Belgian police issued a new appeal on Monday (March 28) for information about a man caught on CCTV at Brussels airport with two others who are thought to have blown themselves up in the check-in area last Tuesday.

It was not clear whether the appeal meant the man, thought to have had a bomb with him, was on the run or that police were simply trying to bolster their case that a suspect they have arrested and charged with "terrorist murder" is the man in the footage.

Half a dozen people have been charged in Belgium following Tuesday's attacks on the airport and the metro. The death toll rose to 35 on Monday, excluding the two airport bombers and a third who blew himself up on a rush-hour train.

A Europe-wide hunt for suspects has revealed links with the network that attacked Paris last year and also foiled a new potential attack on France last week, officials said. But several suspects are reported to be still at large.

 

The man in a light jacket seen pushing a trolley with a suitcase on it in the airport video footage, which was released on Monday along with the appeal, has been dubbed "the man in the hat".

He has been named by Belgian media as Faycal Cheffou, a self-styled freelance journalist.

A source close to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a suspect named by prosecutors only as Faycal C who had been charged with attempted and actual terrorist murder, was believed to be Cheffou.

But the source repeated that there had been no official identification, implying police may be having difficulties linking him to the figure captured on CCTV, who was wearing glasses and whose hat was pulled down over his face.

The official police notice said they were seeking to formally identify the man, who is suspected of dumping his case containing a bomb, which did not go off, before running from the terminal.