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Belgium charges 2, detains 3 over Brussels, Paris attacks

A judge charged two men identified as Smail F. and Ibrahim F. over the Brussels suicide bombings.

People hold a banner reading in French and Flamish “I AM BRUSSELS” as they gather around floral tributes, candles, belgian flags and notes in front of the Bourse of Brussels on 22 March, 2016 in tribute to the victims of Brussels following triple bomb attacks in the Belgian capital that killed about 35 people and left more than 200 people wounded. Picture: AFP.

BRUSSELS - Belgium has charged two more men with terrorist offences linked to last month's bombings in Brussels and also searched a house related to the attacks in Paris, detaining three people, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.

A judge charged the two men, identified as Smail F., born in 1984, and Ibrahim F., born in 1988, over alleged links to the rental of a property that investigators believe was used as a "safe house" before the 22 March suicide bombings in Brussels.

Prosecutors said in a statement that they had searched a house in the southern Brussels district of Uccle, taking into custody three people for questioning over the 13 November shooting and bombing rampage in Paris.

Prosecutors did not comment on what was found in the house search but said the three people detained would appear before a judge on Wednesday to decide whether they would be charged.

Investigations into the attacks in Paris and Brussels, both claimed by Islamic State militant group, unveiled significant overlap between the groups that orchestrated them.

Belgian prosecutors said on Sunday they had reason to believe that those behind the Brussels attacks, which killed 32 people, had initially planned to strike again in France.

Including Smail F., and Ibrahim F., six suspects have been arrested and charged since late last week as a result of investigations into the Brussels bombings.

"They are charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murders and attempts to commit terrorist murders, as a perpetrator, co-perpetrator or accomplice," prosecutors said in their statement.

Police raided the suspected safe house in the central Brussels district of Etterbeek on Saturday, but found no weapons or explosives.

The Belgian newspaper DH said the two men had been seen on security camera footage entering the house the day after the attacks and carrying out several bags. Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment on that report.

Four other suspects were arrested on Friday, including Mohamed Abrini, who investigators say has confessed to depositing a bomb at Brussels airport, and Osama Krayem, suspected of buying bags used by the bombers.

Abrini is also wanted in connection with the Paris attacks.

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