Belgian prosecutor charges four people with terrorist offences

Belgian police during a search in Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium, April 9, 2016.
Belgian police during a search in Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium, April 9, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Belgian prosecutors on Saturday held Mohamed Abrini in connection with the Paris attacks and a new suspect in the Brussels attacks identified as Osama K, charging them both with “terrorist murders.”

But “it was not possible yet to confirm that Mohamed Abrini indeed was the third suspect”, the so-called “man in the hat” seen with the two suicide bombers at Brussels airport on March 22, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Abrini and Osama K, whom the media have identified as Osama Krayem, were among six people arrested in raids on Friday across Brussels in an important blow to the cell believed to have carried out both attacks claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.


Osama K was identified as the man who appeared with the suicide bomber at the Malbeek subway station and the one who bought bags used to conceal the bombs set off by two suicide attackers at the airport on March 22, the statement said.

It said both were charged with “participation in the activities of a terrorist group and terrorist murders,” the first in connection with the Nov 13 Paris attacks and the second in the Brussels attacks.

It said two people arrested with Abrini were released following a “thorough investigation.”

Another suspect who was arrested Friday at the same time as Osama K was identified as 25-year-old Rwandan national Herve BM, who is “suspected of having offered assistance to Mohamed Abrini as well as Osama K,” the statement said.

He is charged with participating in the activities of terrorist group and “complicity in terrorist murders,” it said.

It added that another man, Bilal EM, was charged with participating in “the activities of a terrorist group and complicity in terrorist murders” over suspicions he helped Abrini and Osama K.