Brussels attacks: Three more people charged

Belgian authorities have charged three more people in relation to the bomb attacks that rocked the capital Brussels last week. Federal prosecutors in Brussels said in a statement on Monday that the three, who were reportedly arrested a day earlier in the city, were accused of participating in a terrorist group. The statement identified the three as Yassine A., Mohamed B. and Aboubaker O., adding that officials can provide no further information about the suspects at this stage. It also said a fourth suspect had been released without charge. Police had announced on Sunday that it had made four arrests earlier in the day in 13 raids carried out across Brussels. It also said four others were questioned but later released. 

Senior officials in Belgium have admitted that the country’s security system has been negligent in dealing with potential terror-related cases over decades, allowing terrorists to carry out high-profile attacks like the recent one in Brussels. Three bombings happened last Tuesday in the city’s main airport and metro station, and were claimed by Daesh, a Takfiri terrorist group mainly operating in Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, officials said on Monday that death toll from the bombings, which initially stood at 31, has climbed to 35. “Four patients deceased in hospital. Medical teams did all possible. Total victims: 35. Courage to all the families," Belgium’s health minister, Maggie De Block, said in a tweet. The initial toll, which included the three attackers, was 31, while the attacks left some 300 people injured.

The bombings in Brussels came as as Belgian officials were in the midst of an extensive operation to hunt down suspects involved in attacks in November 2015 in the French capital Paris, which killed 130. Security forces had apprehended the main suspect, Salah Abdeslam, on March 18. Repeated raids have been carried out in Brussels and elsewhere in Belgium over the past months, resulting in dozens of arrests in connection to potential terror attacks. Belgium is viewed as the prime recruiting ground in Europe for Daesh.

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