Brussels: The Islamic State (IS) militant group issued two videos warning that the “nightmare” of the Brussels terror attacks that killed over 30 people “had only just begun”.
People evacuate a tram in the Schaerbeek-Schaarbeel district in Brussels on Friday. Pic/AFP
The videos were sent to Belgian newspaper Le Soir, showing two radical militants ordering Western governments to withdraw their troops from Syria and Iraq.
“Tell them to withdraw their planes and soldiers and you will live in peace. The nightmare has only just begun. What will come later will be even more appalling,” a speaker said in one of the videos.
“Remember my message a year ago when it was announced that we would attack Paris and Brussels. We have achieved that and we have other targets,” the video added.
Zaventem airport was the first target on Tuesday, with two suicide bomb explosions in the departures hall killing 11 people. An hour later, 20 people died in the suicide bombing at the Maalbeek metro station located in central Brussels.
The police pressed ahead on Saturday with the search for suspects. A huge manhunt netted the suspect officially identified as Faycal C — and identified by local media as Faycal Cheffou.
Prosecutors said Faycal C was one of three people arrested outside the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels on Thursday night as part of a huge sweep of detentions across Belgium and Europe. “He has been charged with taking part in a terrorist group, terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder,” the prosecutor said.
Asked if Faycal C was the suspected third bomber dubbed the “man in the hat”, a source close to the inquiry said: “That is a hypothesis the investigators are working on.”
A second man, Aboubakar A, arrested separately on Thursday night in a car in another part of Brussels, has also been charged with participating in terrorist activities.
President Francois Hollande said a jihadist network which hit both Paris and Brussels was being “destroyed” but also warned that the threat remained and everyone must be on guard. The Belgian government has admitted “errors” and two ministers offered to resign after Turkey said it had arrested and deported Ibrahim El Bakraoui, who blew himself up in the airport attack.
Belgium had ignored warnings that he was a “foreign terrorist fighter,” it said.
A Belgian parliamentary commission on Friday questioned the ministers for justice, foreign affairs, and the interior on how Ibrahim El Bakraoui had managed to slip past the authorities.
Meanwhile Brussels airport will not reopen before Tuesday as it implements new security measures and repairs the departure hall.
“Brussels Airport is starting preparations to partially resume passenger flights and to implement the new security measures at Belgian airports, decided by the federal government,” Zaventem airport said in a statement.