Brussels Airport suspect Fayçal Cheffou released for lack of evidence

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Fayçal Cheffou, the man who was initially believed to be the third attacker at Brussels Airport, has been released due to a lack of evidence, prosecutors say. A manhunt for the fugitive suspect is now continuing.

Cheffou was arrested near the federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels on Thursday evening and later ordered detained on suspicion of being involved in last week’s deadly attacks in the Belgian capital. This led to speculation that he could have been the so-called “man in the hat”.

In a brief statement on Monday afternoon, the prosecutor’s office said a judge had ordered Cheffou to be released. “The indications that led to the arrest of Fayçal C. could not be confirmed through the investigation,” the statement said.

The news means that the manhunt for the so-called “man in the hat” is continuing and comes only hours after police released new surveillance footage of the suspect, who fled from Brussels Airport after two others with him carried out a suicide bombing. The unidentified suspect left behind his bomb, which was the largest of the three.

Cheffou described himself as an independent journalist as recently as 2014, though it is unclear whether he ever held a job as a journalist. A 2014 video showed Cheffou reporting on the treatment of Muslims at a asylum seekers center in Belgium, saying Muslims were denied to have their meals after sunset during the Ramadan.

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