Update: Brussels Terrorist Suspect Admits To Being "Man In The Hat"

Update: The BBC reports that suspect Mohamed Abrini has admitted to being the “man in the hat” caught on surveillance tape at the Brussels airport during the March 22 attack. The previously unidentified suspect was being sought by authorities for his participation in the attacks.
Update, 11:40 a.m. EDT: Belgian authorities have arrested another man in connection the Brussels attacks that killed 32 people, according to Reuters.
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The man’s name has not been released, but Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens said that the individual was a former fighter in Syria who had recently completed a prison sentence on March 15.

Belgium’s Federal Prosecution Office said Saturday that it had charged four men in connection to the March 22 attacks on the Brussels airport and metro, the Associated Press reported. The men have been identified as Mohamed Abrini, Osama K., Herve B. M., and Bilal E. M.

Abrini was arrested in Brussels on Saturday afternoon. He was also wanted in connection to the November 13 Paris attacks that killed 130.

Update, April 2, 2016, 12:05 p.m. EDT:
A third man has been charged in connection to terrorist activities related to a foiled plot, according to Reuters.
The man, a Belgian national identified as Y.A., was arrested on Thursday and charged on Saturday with participating in the activities of a terrorist group in connection with a foiled attack on Paris.

Two other men, identified by Belgian authorities as Rabah N. and Abderamane A, have also been charged in connection to the planned attack. The alleged plot was uncovered after police found weapons at the home of Reda Kriket, who was arrested outside of Paris on March 24, two days after terrorist attacks in Brussels left 32 people dead. The BBC reported that a Paris prosecutor said that an act of “extreme violence” had likely been prevented.

Sarah Abdeslam, one of the alleged ringleaders of November’s terrorist attack on Paris, has also said that he voluntarily chose not to blow himself up, according to The Guardian. Abdeslam, the only surviving suspect in the November 13 attack that killed 130, was arrested in Brussels on March 18. Abdeslam told investigators after his arrest that he was meant to carry out a suicide bombing at the Stade de France, but his brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, said Friday that he chose not to follow through. Abdeslam told his brother from prison that, “If [he] wanted, there would have been more victims.” Abdeslam is currently held in northern Belgium while he awaits extradition to France.


Update, March 27, 2016, 10a.m. EDT:
NBC News reports that Stephanie Shults, wife of previously confirmed dead American Justin Shults, has also been confirmed dead. Her death was also announced on Twitter by Jason's brother, Levi Sutton.


Update, March 26, 2016, 4:20 p.m. EDT: Justin Shults, the American man who had been missing since Tuesday's attacks in Brussels, is confirmed dead, NBC News reports. The confirmation came from his brother, Levi Sutton, on Twitter. Justin, 30, was last seen in the Brussels airport with his wife Stephanie, 29, waving goodbye to his mother-in-law, who was catching a flight at the airport when the attacks began. Stephanie is still missing. Her mother, Carolyn Moore, was not injured in the attacks.
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Update, March 26, 2016, 12:10 p.m. EST: A suspect has been charged in connection to Tuesday’s attack on Brussels, according to the BBC.
The man, identified by prosecutors as Fayçal C., was arrested on March 24 and charged Saturday with “participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murders and attempted terrorist murders". Fayçal C, identified by Le Monde as Fayçal Cheffou, is the first suspect to be charged in the attacks.

Two other men, identified as Rabah N. and Aboubakar A., have also been charged with terrorist activities in Belgium, though they have not officially been connected to Tuesday’s attacks.

A spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office, Eric Van der Sijpt, told The New York Times that authorities are trying to determine whether Cheffou is the third airport bomber caught in surveillance video of the moments before the attack. A search of Cheffou’s home did not find any explosives or weapons.


Update, March 25, 2016:
At least two people from the United States are confirmed dead in this week's terror attacks in Brussels, the Associated Press reports.

"United States is praying and grieving with you for the loved ones of those cruelly taken from us, including Americans, and for the many who were injured in these despicable attacks," Secretary of State John Kerry said in Brussels on Friday.

NBC News identified the victims as Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski, two siblings from New York. Family members confirmed that the brother and sister, Dutch nationals who were living in New York, died in the attacks, according to the AP. An American couple also remains missing following the blasts, according to family members.

Update, March 23, 2016:
Authorities have identified two of the suicide bombers involved in Tuesday's attacks as Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui, brothers who are Belgian nationals, the BBC reports. One suspect is believed to be on the run.

Ed. note: This is a breaking news story and will continue to be updated as additional information comes in. It was originally published at 6:05 a.m.

Brussels has been hit by multiple explosions this morning, resulting in dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries across Belgium's capital city, according to a Belgian security official. Two explosions occurred at Zaventem Airport this morning, according to multiple reports. A third blast went off at a metro station in the suburb of Maalbeek.

The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Associated Press reports.

"This is a dark moment for our nation. We need calm and solidarity," Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said, according to AP. "We know that there are many dead, many injured."

At least 34 people are believed to be dead following the explosions, according to the AP. At least 250 more are reported injured. Several Americans were injured in the attacks, including three Mormon missionaries and an American service member and his family, NBC News reported.

Adelma Marina Tapia Ruiz, 37, is the first victim of the attacks to be identified, The Guardian reports. Tapia Ruiz was at the Brussels airport with her Belgian husband, Christophe Delcambe, and their twin four-year-old daughters Maureen and Alondra, when the explosions took place. Originally from Peru, Tapia Ruiz had lived in Brussels for six years. One of her daughters was reportedly wounded by flying debris from the explosions.

The Jet Airways crew member wounded in the blasts, whose picture has abounded on front pages and social media, has been identified as Nidhi Chaphekar, according to The Guardian. Eleven were killed at Brussels airport and 20 at Maelbeek metro station

It is also alleged that Belgian intelligence officials had been aware of the threat of attacks in the capital, raising the question as to why security forces were unable to protect key areas like the city's airport.
Witnesses from both sites described terrifying and chaotic scenes.

"A lot of people were in panic. I saw a lot of blood, a lot of people were injured. People were crying, on the floor, covered by parts of the roofing. I saw a lot of leg injuries, a lot of people couldn't move anymore," Jef Versele, who was at the airport at the time of the explosion, told NBC News. "There were quite a lot of people injured. In the departure hall — you saw people storming out, it was like run for your life."

The explosions have left the city on lockdown. The airport has been evacuated, with flights suspended. Eurostar has also suspended services to and from Brussels Midi. The metro has all been shut down, with Michel asking citizens to "avoid any movement."

The explosions come days after Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November terror attacks in Paris, was captured in Brussels. Officials were warned of additional terror plots after that raid, saying that Abdeslam had been planning to "restart something" in the city, NBC News reported at the time.

Following the news of the Brussels attacks Tuesday, France's interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, announced that France will deploy 1,600 new police officers along the country's borders and at transportation hubs, The New York Times reports. The Eiffel Tower will also be lit with Belgium's national colors on Tuesday, in solidarity with Brussels.

President Barack Obama, speaking in Cuba Tuesday morning, condemned the attacks and said "we will do whatever it takes to support our friends and allies in bringing to justice those who are responsible."

“This is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together, regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism,” he said. “We can and will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.”
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