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BRUSSELS — A noisy citizen journalist who reveled in verbal and physical fights in public spaces, Fayçal Cheffou never quite fit the profile of a furtive underground operative for the Islamic State. Yet that was the role assigned to him when the Belgian authorities announced that he had been charged with terrorism and the Belgian news media identified him as the “third bomber” at Brussels Airport in last Tuesday’s attacks.
Mr. Cheffou’s arrest last week, curiously easy as he was picked up right outside the federal prosecutor’s office, signaled a big break for a Belgian security apparatus assailed by complaints that it had missed vital clues before the terrorist assault at the airport and a subway station.
Now it looks as if the police got the wrong man, or at least lacked enough evidence to hold him. Mr. Cheffou was released on Monday.
Vilified as “an extremist jihadi horror” early on Monday by a senior Belgian official, Mr. Cheffou was freed just a few hours later with the authorities acknowledging that the evidence against a man they had charged with terrorism and murder was not as strong as they had thought. This suggested that Mr. Cheffou had been mistakenly identified by a witness as the bomber in a dark hat and white coat in an airport surveillance photo.
originally posted by: ReadLeader
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