British taxpayers directly funded the Islamist terrorists who carried out the Brussels airport and train bombings though welfare payments made to invaders inside Britain, a court has heard.
Mohamed Abrini—the terrorist known as the “man in the hat” after the March 2016 attack, was handed $3740 (£3,000) by two men in Birmingham before flying to Paris.
This fact was revealed during the trial of the Muslim “immigrant” Zakaria Bouffassil, 26, currently taking place in Kingston.
Bouffassil, who lives in Birmingham, handed over the cash to Abrini after it had been withdrawn from the bank account of another invader, Anouar Haddouchi.
Haddouchi and Bouffassil both have Belgian nationality, but had moved to Birmingham and had started claiming full unemployment benefits while there.
Haddouchi had then left Britain to go and fight for ISIS in Syria, but even after his departure, the welfare payments had continued, and the cash had piled up in his Birmingham bank account.
Bouffassil then met up with Abrini in July 2015, and handed over a large amount of cash in what was described as a “secretive meeting in a Birmingham park.”
Bouffassil was accompanied by another invader named Mohamed Ali Ahmed, who has already admitted the charge.
Max Hill QC, prosecuting, told the court that there was “no doubt that the money was handed over with the intention of assisting acts of terrorism. The intention could not be more clear. Haddouchi had left the UK to fight for Daesh in Syria. Abrini came to collect the money in the UK.
“The destination would include Syria and specifically Daesh, either to Haddouchi himself or to other fighters. In other words the cash was handed over to Abrini with the intention of assisting others to commit acts of terrorism.”
Hill said that Haddouchi had left Britain for ISIS in mid-2014, leaving his bank account open. “At times it contained some £7,000 ($8800) or more. The figure fluctuated over time because benefits payments were still going into the account, even though Haddouchi had left the country,” he said.
The money had been gradually withdrawn in cash sums on various dates between May 30, 2015 and November 23, 2015.
The court heard how Abrini had traveled to Syria via Turkey in early 2015, and while he was there, he had met Haddouchi. The latter had asked him to travel to Birmingham to collect the money.
Abrini had flown to Heathrow airport on July 9, 2015, and had traveled to Birmingham by bus. He then asked a taxi driver to take him to a “cheap hotel in the Muslim area,” where he waited for further contact.
After three days, he had met up with Bouffassil in the Small Heath area of Birmingham, where the cash handover had taken place. He then finally left Britain on July 16.
In March 2015, Abrini was captured on CCTV alongside Ibrahim El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui, who detonated bombs hidden in suitcases killing 12 people at Brussels airport.
Another 20 people died in an attack on Maalbeek metro station less than two hours later.
Abrini was also wanted by the French authorities in connection with the attacks in Paris last November.