Belgian prosecutors have charged a 30-year-old in connection with terror attacks in Paris and Belgium. The suspect is related to others implicated in the attacks.
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Named as Yassine A., the 30-year-old Belgian national has been formally charged following a “judicial inquiry” into the 2015 Paris attacks for his involvement in murders of a terrorist nature and being a member of a terrorist group.
In a statement on Friday, the Office of the Federal Prosecutor in Belgium said a pre-trial chamber in Brussels ordered a one-month detention after Yassine A. was charged with “terrorist assassinations” and of being “a leader in the activities of a terrorist group.”
Extremist suspects have their cases reviewed monthly until their trials; such periods of custody are almost always extended.
Related to suicide bombers
Yassine A. was a cousin of two suicide bombers, the brothers Ibrahim and Khalid Bakraoui, who attacked Zaventem airport and the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, killing 32 people and leaving more than 320 wounded in March 2016.
He was arrested just days after the Brussels attacks and found in possession of keys to a hideout used by the bombers who carried out the attacks in both Brussels and Paris, Belgian broadcaster RTL reported.
The defendant is also the brother of one of the supposed leaders of the Paris attacks, Oussama Atar, who is believed to be based in Syria.
In November 2015, gunmen and bombers in Paris targeted the Bataclan concert venue, the national soccer stadium and sidewalk cafes, leaving 130 dead and 368 people injured, 100 of them seriously.
France and Belgium remain on high alert following the attacks. The French government continues to operate under a state of emergency, which was extended through July 15 to cover parliamentary elections in June as well as the French national holiday on July 14.
The state of emergency allows the French government to prevent the circulation of individuals and to create zones of protection and security.
jm/sms (AP, AFP)