Men gave cash to Brussels airport bomber on England trip, court hears

Two suspects arrested in the English city of Birmingham on terrorism-related charges allegedly gave 3,000 pounds (4,300 dollars) to Mohamed Abrini, the surviving airport bomber from last month's Brussels terrorist attacks, a court heard on Friday.

Prosecutors accused Mohammed Ali Ahmed and Zakaria Boufassil, both 26, of handing the cash to Abrini when he visited Birmingham last year.

West Midlands Police said Ahmed and Boufassil were charged with handing over money when they had "reasonable cause to suspect that it would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism."

The two men appeared in court on Friday with a woman, Soumaya Boufassil, 29, who was charged, alongside Ahmed, with collecting money intended for "committing acts of terrorism or assisting another to commit such acts."

Counterterrorism officers said the three suspects and two others were arrested in mid-April during investigations into potential threats to Britain following a triple suicide bombing in Brussels on March 22 and a night of coordinated violence in Paris on November 13.

A fourth suspect, Fazal Sajjad Younis Khan, 40, was charged with possession of pepper spray, West Midlands Police said in a statement.

"A 59-year-old man remains on bail with strict conditions while the investigation continues," it said.

An earlier statement said the "pre-planned and intelligence-led" arrests came during "an extensive investigation" drawing on support from national and international partners.

Abrini has confessed to taking part in the bomb attack on Brussels airport and is suspected of involvement in the terrorist attacks that killed 130 innocent people in Paris in November.

The suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, also visited Birmingham in October, British and French media reported.

Last update: Fri, 29/04/2016 - 15:37
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