Belgium Frees Suspected ‘Third Bomber’ Over Lack of Evidence

Police Back to Hunting for 'Man in the Hat'

Belgian officials were desperate to make some quick progress in the investigation in the wake of the ISIS bombings in Brussels, and were quick to hype the arrest of Farcal Cheffou as a huge breakthrough in the case, with media presenting him as the “third bomber.”

That fell apart today, as Belgian police have freed Cheffou, admitting that they didn’t have enough evidence to warrant holding him, and that he was likely “mistakenly identified” by a witness as the man in a surveillance photo.

Police in Brussels are once again scrambling for suspects now; with efforts to find the “man in the hat” once again picking up steam following the realization that Cheffou was not that man in the first place.

The two other bombers at the Brussels airport blew themselves up during the attack, but the “man in the hat” left his bomb at the site and fled. It was the largest bomb of the three, but did not detonate. An additional suicide bomber at Maalbeek metro station was also identified already.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.