Brussels attacks: New ‘man in the hat’ video released

Belgian prosecutors launch new public appeal for information about Brussels airport bombing suspect.

Belgian authorities released on Thursday a new video of the “man in the hat”, the surviving third suspect of the Brussels airport bombings that killed 16 people.

The release of the footage came as police issued a new public appeal for information about the fugitive seen on CCTV images next to the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up at the airport on March 22.

A subsequent explosion at Brussels’ Maelbeek subway station killed another 16 people the same morning.

The newly released police video shows the man, wearing a dark hat and a light-coloured jacket, fleeing the airport’s departure hall after the bombs went off before 8am local time.

READ MORE: Belgium police still hunting third airport suspect

CCTV footage shows him continuing his route on foot towards central Brussels where surveillance cameras lost track of him at 9:50am.

Along the way, the fugitive discards his jacket and at one point appears to be on the phone.

“We especially appeal to anyone who might have filmed or think they have photographed the suspect,” spokesman Eric Van der Sypt told reporters. 

Investigators are urgently looking for the jacket, described in the statement accompanying the video as light “with a hood which is dark inside.

“Should this jacket be found, this might give invaluable information to the investigators.”

The suspect who fled the Brussels airport has become known as the The suspect who fled the Brussels airport has become known as the “man with the hat” [Reuters]

Fresh appeal

The request for public assistance more than two weeks after the suicide attacks, which were claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) indicated that investigations have hit a standstill. 

Last week, police asked all residents and business owners in the Brussels region who have external surveillance cameras not to delete any footage from March 15 onwards.

READ MORE: Belgium charges three men linked to attacks in Brussels

Belgian authorities have recently come under fire as close links emerged between the Brussels attackers and those behind the Paris assaults in November that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds.

Earlier on Thursday, the lawyer for Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam said it will take some weeks before his client can be extradited from Belgium to France.

Sven Mary spoke after a legal hearing on the Belgian-born French citizen’s continuing detention in Belgium. He said the existing “Belgian arrest warrant must be lifted for [Abdeslam’s] transfer” to France, in accordance with the extradition request.

Mary said before Belgian authorities allow Abdeslam to leave they want to question the 26-year-old about another case – a deadly police raid in the Forest neighbourhood of Brussels days before his arrest.

Abdeslam fled to Belgium after the attacks on the French capital and was arrested on March 18 after four months on the run.

Since his arrest he has been in a prison in the Belgian city of Bruges.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies