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Brussels bombing suspect released due to lack of evidence

By
Andrew V. Pestano
The U.S. Department of State revealed two more Americans were killed in Tuesday's Brussels bombings, bringing the total U.S. death toll to four. The Belgian capital has increased its security presence following the attacks and police have conducted dozens of raids. Photo by Diego Ravier/UPI
The U.S. Department of State revealed two more Americans were killed in Tuesday's Brussels bombings, bringing the total U.S. death toll to four. The Belgian capital has increased its security presence following the attacks and police have conducted dozens of raids. Photo by Diego Ravier/UPI | License Photo

BRUSSELS, March 28 (UPI) -- Belgian police have released from custody the only suspect charged with being directly connected to the bombing attacks in Brussels due to a lack of evidence.

The suspect, identified as Faycal Cheffou, was arrested on Thursday and charged with "participation in the activities of a terrorist group, terrorist murders and attempted terrorist murders."

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"The indications that led to the arrest of Faycal C. were not substantiated by the ongoing inquiry," the Belgian federal prosecutor's office said in a statement on Monday. "As a result, the subject has been released by the examining magistrate."

Three others have also been charged with involvement with a terrorist group following the deadly Islamic State bombings that killed at least 35 people, but it not been determined if those charged were directly involved with Tuesday's bombings.

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The charged men were identified as Aboubaker O., Yassine A. and Mohamed B. Police in Brussels have conducted dozens of additional raids following the attacks.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State has confirmed two more Americans were killed in the attacks -- bringing the U.S. citizen death toll to four.

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The identities of the deceased were not immediately revealed, but the State Department said that "we express our deepest condolences to their loved ones." Belgian officials on Monday said the overall death toll in the bombings increased to 35 after four people died from injuries. The death toll is expected to continue to rise.

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"The U.S. Embassy in Brussels is providing consular assistance," a State Department official told NBC News. "We have no further information to share out of respect for the families during this difficult time."

The other two Americans who died in the attacks were previously identified as husband and wife Justin Shults, 31, Stephanie Shults, 29. The couple moved to Belgium in 2014. They died from the bombing attack at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem after they dropped off Stephanie's mother.

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