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Belgium conducts more raids in terror aftermath, questions nine

Monday, March 28, 2016 - 06:23

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Belgian authorities conducted 13 raids across the country on Sunday, detaining nine people as part of their efforts to prevent further attacks and learn more about the fatal March 22 airport and subway bombings in Brussels.

[BRUSSELS] Belgian authorities conducted 13 raids across the country on Sunday, detaining nine people as part of their efforts to prevent further attacks and learn more about the fatal March 22 airport and subway bombings in Brussels.

Prosecutors released five people after questioning and haven't decided whether to place anyone in custody, according to a statement from the Belgian federal prosecutor's office. According to the Belga newswire, Belgian authorities on Sunday charged a suspect identified as Abderamane A as they investigate the attacks that killed at least 28 victims and the three suicide bombers.

Meanwhile, riot police in Brussels used water cannons to push back hundreds of protesters that Vilvoorde Mayor Hans Bonte identified as football fans. RTBF television said from 500 and 1,000 people assembled in the downtown area, near the stock exchange. Police made 10 arrests in connection with the demonstrations, Belga reported, citing police.

"I am scandalized by what is happening to see that such scoundrels come and provoke the people" after warnings on Saturday that such protests might occur, Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said, according to Belga.

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"I want the federal government to respond to this."

Airport Closed

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned the demonstrations and said police would do whatever was needed to disburse the rioters, according to Belga.

The terrorist attacks led to a wave of investigations, recriminations and efforts to prevent further violence as authorities have struggled to find out what happened prior to the bombings. The Brussels airport, where 11 were killed, is expected to stay closed until Tuesday. The Maelbeek metro station, the site of the other attack, is closed to passengers but trains are passing through.

The raids on Sunday took place in greater Brussels and the Flemish suburbs, with four searches carried out in Mechelen, one in Duffel, three in Brussels, one in Molenbeek, one in Anderlecht and three in Laeken.

Federal prosecutors on Saturday said they charged a suspect, identified as Faycal C and apprehended Thursday evening in the Belgian capital, with terrorist murder and being part of a terrorist group. Faycal C may have been the man in a cream-colored jacket seen on security cameras at the Brussels airport at the time of the Tuesday bombing that killed 11 people in the departures hall, according to Le Soir newspaper.

Two other suspects also were charged with terrorism offenses, prosecutors said.

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