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Brussels Bombings: Faycal Cheffou Faces Terror Charges

by Cassandra Vinograd, Nancy Ing and Alastair Jamieson /  / Updated 

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BRUSSELS — Brussels attacks suspect Faycal Cheffou has been charged with terrorist murder and two other offenses, prosecutors said Saturday.

Cheffou was one of several people detained by authorities Thursday night in Brussels, but is the first to face charges in relation to Tuesday's terror attacks in the Belgian capital.

An investigating judge formally handed down his arrest warrant and charged him with terrorist murders, attempted murder relating to terror plots and links to terror groups, Belgium's federal prosecutor said in a statement Saturday.

Prosecutors initially only identified Cheffou by his first name and last initial: "Faycal C." NBC News later confirmed his full name.

Related: Brussels Terror Attacks Reopen Airport Security Debate

Cheffou was detained in front of the prosecutor's office Thursday night. A subsequent search of his home turned up no weapons or explosives, the statement added.

It was not immediately clear if Cheffou was believed to be the man seen in surveillance footage at the Brussels airport with two suicide bombers. Belgian authorities would not comment on the question or possibility, initially raised by local media.

Belgian authorities have carried out a number of raids in central Brussels and the neighborhood of Schaerbeek since Tuesday's deadly attacks on the airport and subway system.

In addition to uncovering a suspected bomb factory in Schaerbeek earlier in the week, authorities wounded and arrested a suspect on Friday at a tram stop in the neighborhood.

The prosecutor's statement Saturday said that in addition to Faycal C., two other people have been charged with terror offenses. Only the charges against Faycal C., however, were explicitly linked to the Brussels terror attacks.

A suspect identified as Rabah N. — detained as part of the investigation into a foiled terror plot in France — was charged with participating in terrorist activities, the prosecutor's statement said.

A third man, Aboubakar A., was charged with participation in terrorist activities. The prosecutor's office did not say anything further about Aboubakar A. — whether he was linked to any specific plot or when he was initially detained.

It added that the man injured during a Friday police operation in the Schaerbeek neighborhood — Abderamane A. — will remain in custody for another 24 hours.

A march had been planned for Sunday to show support and solidarity in wake of the attacks, but was canceled after Belgian officials urged the public to delay the event.

"Given that the absolute priority must be given to the investigations, we would like to ask the citizens not to demonstrate tomorrow," Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur said at a news conference.

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon added that while officials "understand fully ... the emotion of our citizens," the country's threat level was still elevated and police needed "the best circumstances possible" to investigate.

The Brussels Airport will remain closed until at least March 29, officials said Saturday. They added that an initial analysis conducted by a team of engineers and experts have found no stability issues related to the terminal building because of the blasts.

Meanwhile, singer Mariah Carey has canceled her upcoming show in Brussels.

"I love my fans in Brussels and at this time I am being advised to cancel my show for the safety of my fans, my band, crew and everyone involved with the tour," Carey tweeted Friday. "I hope to see you soon and send my prayers and eternal love, laughter and light to my Lambs."

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