Belgian authorities Saturday charged a third suspect in the dual suicide bombings that ruptured the Brussels airport, destroyed a subway car and killed 31 people Tuesday. Fayçal Cheffou, who was arrested Thursday night while sitting in a car parked just outside the Belgian prosecutor’s office, has been charged with “attempted terrorist murder” and “participation in terrorist activities,” CNN reported.
All week, Belgian authorities have been on the hunt for a third man seen in airport surveillance footage walking with two suicide bombers who detonated explosives. While authorities have not formally identified Cheffou as that third man, Belgian newspaper Le Soir has reported Cheffou was identified by a cab driver who drove him and the other two attackers to the airport to carry out the attacks.
Authorities also announced they had charged two other men with planning separate terrorist attacks. One man, identified as “Rabah N.,” was charged with “participating in the activities of a terrorist group” as part of a raid outside Paris that authorities say foiled a separate attack on France, according to the Washington Post. The other, “Aboubakar A.,” was arrested and charged with terrorism-related offenses, though details were not disclosed.
Those arrests were part of a broader run of raids and arrests carried out across Europe this week. Authorities conducted three targeted raids Friday in the same area where a bomb-making operation was uncovered earlier this week. One of them resulted in police shooting a man carrying a bag believed to contain explosives.
Those moves and the evidence surrounding them are part of an “alarming” array of signs that the men who detonated bombs in Brussels are part of a continent-spanning terrorist network, one that includes the men responsible for the attacks in Paris that occurred earlier this year. The Guardian reported late last year, Islamic State leaders made a strategic decision to focus their resources on terrorist attacks in Europe.
Since then, the number of terror cases being pursued by authorities in both France and Belgium has been on the rise.
A video published Friday by two Belgium-based Islamic State fighters declared: “This is just the beginning of your nightmare.”