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Belgian police charge possible third airport bomber

Police 'working on a hypothesis' that man charged with 'terrorist murder' was a bomber who fled airport
CCTV footage from Brussels airport appears to show three attackers before the deadly bombing on Tuesday (AFP)

A suspect has been charged in Belgium with terrorist murder, and police are trying to confirm if he is the third Brussels airport bomber and the one who fled the scene, a source close to the probe said Saturday.

"He has been charged with taking part in a terrorist group, terrorist murder and attempted terrorist murder," the prosecutor said in a statement, naming the suspect as Faycal C, one of six people detained in several separate police raids late on Thursday.

The source said it was not yet confirmed that the suspect was the fugitive captured on CCTV wearing a hat and pushing a luggage trolley through the check-in hall alongside two suicide bombers.

"That is a hypothesis the investigators are working on," the source told AFP.

Belgian media have repeatedly identified the man in the footage, who is wearing a light coat and black hat, as Faisal Cheffou.

The prosecutor's statement said police searched the suspect's home but found no arms or explosives.

Faycal C is the first to be charged over Tuesday's airport and metro bombings, in which 31 people were killed and 300 injured.

A second suspect, identified as Rabah N and who had links to a foiled plot in France, was charged with taking part in terrorist activities.

A third man, Aboubakar A, is being held on similar charges.

Another suspect, who was arrested on Friday after being shot in the leg at a tram stop in the Schaerbeek district of Brussels, is being held for another 24 hours as investigations continue. He was identified as Abderaman A.

And another man, Tawfik A, was released after extensive questioning, the statement said.

The organisers of a "March Against Fear" that had been planned to take place on Sunday in the Belgian capital said on Saturday that the event had been cancelled after officials urged people not to attend because of continuing security concerns.

Organisers had said Sunday's march was intended to show that Brussels and the country at large refused to be intimidated by terrorism and that everyone stood together.

"This week, we, Belgian citizens have been attacked, in how we live, our customs, our rights, our liberty," a statement said.

But Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said he recognised and shared the feelings of those who wanted to participate but said the march should be delayed to allow police to concentrate on their investigations.

"Let us allow the security services to do their work and that the march, which we too want to take part in, be delayed for several weeks," Mayeur told a press conference.