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Police Raids, Investigations Continue In Brussels


And we begin with more news about the investigation to Tuesday's terror attacks in Brussels. Authorities there continue to issue arrest warrants. At least seven people are currently being held in custody due to possible links to the Brussels or Paris attacks. Today, Belgian prosecutors charged another man in connection with the Tuesday bombings. And meanwhile, police raids are ongoing throughout the city. We go now to Eleanor Beardsley, who is in Brussels. Eleanor, thanks for being with us.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: What do we know about this latest statement from Belgian officials that somebody else has been charged?

BEARDSLEY: Right, they formally charged a man with terrorist murders. They've given a first name but not a last - Faycal C (ph). But the Belgian media is speculating that this is the mystery man, the missing man wearing the white coat and the hat at the Brussels airport. You remember the grainy camera footage of three men.

SIMON: Yeah, surveillance video.

BEARDSLEY: He's the one that left - yeah, surveillance video - he left his bomb and, you know, left the airport. And Belgian media is speculating that it's him, but it has not yet been confirmed by prosecutors.

SIMON: And tell us about these raids that have been continuing all around Brussels.

BEARDSLEY: Yeah, they went on all across the city starting Thursday night and all day yesterday. People are really on edge. And some of them took place in the Schaerbeek neighborhood in Brussels.

Now, remember, that's where two - those two suicide brother bombers were living and the taxi driver picked up three men that morning and took them to the airport. And he became suspicious when they wouldn't let him help them with their bags because there were bombs in their bags. So he went to the police - the taxi driver did - and that's how they found their apartment and all the explosives. So I went there and...

SIMON: Sounds like maybe we have lost our Eleanor Beardsley in Brussels. Sounds like the - perhaps the line has dropped. I think - did - let me check in our control room. Do we have the audio earlier? Eleanor spoke with a woman named Martine Bauthier who let her come up to the apartment and she told Eleanor what she saw. We have that audio now.

BEARDSLEY: And do you believe that these men are coming out of your city?

MARTINE BAUTHIER: Yeah, it's too - too much people. It's too much (speaking French). They don't have the same life to us. It's impossible.

SIMON: And this woman continues in French. She said her English was not good enough, and she told Eleanor that she thought there'd been a huge negligence among Belgian politicians whom she believes have let too many immigrants into Belgium. And she told Eleanor that now the country's overwhelmed and she sees it's really too late. I'm told we have Eleanor Beardsley back. Eleanor, are you there?

BEARDSLEY: Scott, I'm back. Sorry about that connection.

SIMON: That's all right. These things happen. It's Easter weekend. I wonder if you could tell us what life is like in the Belgian capital.

BEARDSLEY: Well, you know, people are out. People want to go back to work, they want to get their lives back. But it's still kind of jarring to see scenes of soldiers checking people before they go into the Brussels Metro. I took the Brussels Metro today and there was plenty of people in it. It felt normal.

But, Scott, the airport is still closed through Tuesday for forensic work, and they haven't finished identifying the victims and also to reconstruct that terminal. And there's supposed to be a peace march tomorrow. And they've asked for people not to bring bags.

SIMON: They don't want to - they don't want to create more of a security problem. And there must be some concern about a large group of people in any case.

BEARDSLEY: Exactly. They're checking bags everywhere. Everyone is on edge even though they want - you know, it's a sunny day, people want to feel that it's Easter weekend, but there's still a feeling - an unsettled feeling - that things are not normal.

SIMON: Eleanor Beardsley in Brussels, thanks so much.

BEARDSLEY: You're welcome, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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