Brussels attack: Belgian police release 'man in the hat' suspect Faycal C citing lack of evidence

Prosecutors had been trying to link the man named in Belgian media reports as Faycal Cheffou to the bomb site using DNA evidence

The only man arrested and charged by prosecutors over the Brussels airport bombings has been released by Belgian police due to a lack of evidence.

Named by local media reports as Fayçal Cheffou, police said the suspect - who is also known as "the man in the hat" because of his appearance in CCTV footage – is not the man suspected of being the mystery third bomber.

Police said he had none of the links to the Paris attacks that characterised the other three men who died carrying out last Tuesday's attacks and have been identified. 

Prosecutors had been attempting to link Cheffou to the bombings by DNA evidence from the scene, but have now let him go saying their suspicions had not been substantiated.

Earlier, officials released new CCTV footage of the suspect seen walking with the two airport bombers, Ibrahim el Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui, moments before the attack.

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Airport CCTV shows the three suspects; Faycal Cheffou was initially thought to be the man on the right (Belgian Federal Police )

Authorities released the video in the hope of identifying the man on the right, seen wearing light-coloured clothing and a black hat. 

He was pushing a trolley carrying a suitcase containing what police said was the largest bomb of the three but it failed to detonate. 

His two accomplices died when their devices exploded in the airport terminal shortly after 8am killing 11 people and wounding 100 more. 

Soon after, another suicide bomber attacked the Maalbeek metro station in the centre of the city killing another 20 people. He has been identified as Khalid El Bakraoui, Ibrahim's brother.

On Monday, Belgian authorities announced a further four people had died in hospital following the attacks. 

Prosecutors have charged three more people with participating in a terrorist group after a series of raids following bomb attacks on Brussels airport and a metro train last week.

In a statement on Monday, the federal prosecutors named the three charged as Yassine A, Mohamed B and Aboubaker O, adding they could not give further information about them at this stage.

On Sunday, they had announced they were holding four people following 13 new raids in and around Brussels and Antwerp.

Dutch authorities arrested a man in Rotterdam after a request by French authorities. They said they plan to extradite him to France to face charges in relation to an alleged foiled attempt to launch an attack on Paris. Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for Belgium’s role in air strikes against the terror group’s position in Syria and Iraq.

Timeline of arrests

18 March, Salah Abdeslam: Arrested in Molenbeek, a now notorious district of Brussels linked to many terrorist suspects, Abdeslam was charged with ‘terrorist murder’ for November’s Paris attacks.

18  March, Amine Choukri: Also charged with terrorist murder over Paris. Real name not yet known. Linked to Abdeslam by German police.

24 March, Facyal C: Apprehended in central Brussels. (Released on 28 March due to lack of evidence)

25 March, Rabah N: Charged in relation to an alleged foiled attempt to launch a terrorist attack on Paris.

24 March, Aboubakar A: Apprehended by police in a car in Brussels, and charged with terrorism-related activities.

25 March, Abderamane A: Was jailed for seven years in 2005 in France after playing a part in the assassination of an Afghan commander in 2001. Shot last week at a tram stop in the Schaerbeek area of Brussels.

27 March, Yassine A, Mohamed B and Aboubaker O: Apprehended during raids in at 13 addresses across Brussels on Sunday.

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