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Tue 22 Mar 2016: Brussels Airport and EU Metro, 31 dead
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brussels metro suicide bomber Khalid El Bakraoui
recently got married & his wife is due to give birth in a month.
New @paraicobrien revelations #c4news 7pm

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting article
But ignores the obvious possibility that Turkey had inside knowledge because they were very close to those behind it!

Brussels blunders: How Europe ignored key warnings from Turkey
Wednesday 30 March 2016
Turkey has provided Europe with crucial security information to protect the continent from terrorism. So why were they ignored?
As some Western pundits and so-called experts continue to lay the blame for the existence of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group at Turkey's door, it remains a fact that in the real world Ankara has provided Europe with crucial security information to protect the continent from terrorism.

The recent terrorist attacks in Brussels mark the third major assault in the heart of Europe in just over a year, and yet once again EU member states failed to pay attention to warnings by Turkey, leading to a tragic loss of lives.

Ibrahim El Bakraoui, 29, one of the two brothers identified by Belgium for being responsible for the attacks that killed at least 31 people in Brussels on 22 March, entered Turkey on 11 June, 2015 and was detained by Turkish authorities with three other suspects at Gaziantep, a town close to the border with Syria, on 14 June. He was subsequently deported with another foreign IS militant.

Ankara notified the authorities in Belgium and the Netherlands, where Bakraoui said he lived. However, he was freed after his deportation on the grounds of "no evidence of crime". The remaining two captured militants were Turkish citizens and are still imprisoned in Turkey on the grounds of membership of a terrorist organisation.

The Belgian authorities also knew last year of suspected links between Bakraoui and the November attacks in Paris, prosecutors said on Thursday, while two cabinet ministers acknowledged mistakes in the handling of the terror network. Reuters also reported that the Bakraoui brothers were on a US terrorism watchlist, and Dutch officials confirmed that Turkey had deported Ibrahim with a letter titled "URGENT" to Netherlands.

The Belgian government admitted their errors in preventing the Brussels attacks. Justice Minister Koen Geens, according to FoxNews, said Belgian security should "should perhaps have been more critical about the place where the person had been detained," referring to Turkey's border area with Syria.

"When someone is arrested there in a city few people know, it is clear enough for insiders that it could be a terrorist," he said, basically conceding that it was not rocket science to know that a person being detained near the Syria border and being deported by Turkey was an important matter to investigate.

According to Reuters, Belgian officials have said in regard to previous cases "that without evidence of crime, such as having fought in Syria, they cannot jail people deported from Turkey. Among such cases was Brahim Abdeslam, one of the suicide bombers in Paris in November, who was also sent back to Belgium from Turkey early last year."

French connection

Turkey also warned France twice about Omar Ismail Mostefai, one of three attackers at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris where 89 people were killed in the bloodiest scene of the November carnage. "We did, however, not hear back from France on the matter," a Turkish official was reported as saying. Turkish officials also said they foiled a major terror attack in Istanbul on the very same day the Paris attacks occurred.

Previously, Turkish officials announced that Hayat Boumeddiene, the 26-year-old wanted partner of the gunman who killed four people and held more hostages in a Paris kosher supermarket following the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris in January 2015 and was killed by police, arrived in Turkey before the killings and is possibly now in Syria, Daily Sabah reported. Turkish intelligence tracked her moves during her stay in Turkey "and sought intelligence from their French counterparts, a request that the French authorities ignored," according to Daily Sabah.

Another suspected French national IS militant, Faradje Abidat, was deported by Turkey in September 2014 then returned to the country and was captured by Turkish security at a town near the Syria border. He was again deported, and it is unknown whether he was released again by the French authorities.

More interestingly, in September 2015 three men suspected of links with IS in Syria and who were deported by Turkey were not arrested upon their return to France, as French police waited for them at Paris's Orly Airport instead of at the airport in Marseille, Daily Sabah reported. "French media bitterly criticised the French interior ministry over the serious security breach, as the ministry had earlier released a statement that the three men were arrested upon their return to France. Further problems were avoided" as the men later handed themselves into the police, the report said.

In early March, Turkish security caught two men "arriving at an airport in Istanbul with one-way tickets and camouflage gear," the Washington Post reported. "The two were sent back to Sweden and trouble was apparently averted - until eight days later, when the same duo turned up at a Turkish seaport, this time arriving by ferry from the Greek island of Kos."

The Washington Post reported that "When asked about the Swedish fighters intercepted by Turkey, officials in Stockholm said they are powerless."

The report quoted Fredrik Milder, a press officer with Swedish security, as saying: "It is not illegal to travel from Sweden to other countries, even to Iraq and Syria. It is not illegal to join ISIS. We have different laws, so I don’t understand what our Turkish colleagues expect."

Turkey has also taken extensive measures along its southern borders, building concrete barriers, erecting wire fencing, and establishing additional security lighting and risk analysis centres to detect suspects at airports and bus terminals as part of the country’s counterterrorism drive.

Deporting and banning "foreign fighters" heading to join groups such as IS has been a common practice used by Turkey against the infiltration of terror groups to its Syrian and Iraqi borders. Turkey has barred 38,269 suspects from 128 countries since 2011 and deported 3,290 suspects from 95 countries.

What about Turkey's security?

Putting aside the lack of appreciation of Turkey's efforts to prevent terror attacks, the Europeans have even failed to help or even show solidarity when terrorists from IS and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) blow themselves up in Istanbul or Ankara.

Instead, the PKK was allowed to set up a tent just outside the European Council building this month, when a EU-Turkey summit was to be held there. The EU, which also recognises the PKK as a terrorist group, kept silent on the event, although the tent was temporarily removed after Turkish Prime Minster Ahmet Davutoglu threatened that he would not join the summit.

Such an actıon angered Turks, and Davutoglu expressed his "deep disappointment" over the stance by some EU countries towards the PKK.

"While we're mourning the death of 35 civilians killed in a terrorist attack [in Ankara, days earlier], people from the same terrorist organisation were allowed to set up tents and wave their flags right outside this building," he said.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also criticised the West for not distancing itself from terrorist groups such as the PKK and the DHKP-C (the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front).

European politicians may not like the government of Turkey or its leaders, but they have to respect the will of the Turkish people and their representatives. As Turkey is a candidate country that has been waiting at the doors of the EU for over half a century, the EU surely has a right to raise criticism or suggestions regarding Turkey's inner politics. However, no logic can explain how such a bloc could ignore extradition requests for hundreds of terrorists whose aim is to kill more and more people in Turkey.

Not only has the EU disregarded the values that it claims to advocate, and has double standards with regards to what it expects from Ankara, but its actions are endangering innocent Turkish lives. Never mind the lies in the press, but as Ankara continues to work to protect Europe, some Europeans are bent on undermining the security of Turkey.

- Mehmet Solmaz is a Turkish-British journalist who covers news developments in Turkey and the region for the Daily Sabah newspaper. He also frequently appears in international media to comment on Turkish politics and diplomacy.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/brussels-blunders-how-europe-igno red-many-warnings-turkey-1912476689

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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Brussels Terror Attacks: Fake Videos and Images. “The Man in the Hat”
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, April 20, 2016
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-brussels-terror-attacks-fake-videos-a nd-images-the-man-in-the-hat/5519591

After a month of exhaustive police investigations, the Belgian authorities have identified and arrested the alleged (surviving) terror mastermind of the airport bombing, the “man in the hat” Mohamed Abrini. The other four alleged terrorists involved in the kamikaze bombing attacks at the airport and the metro station are reported dead.

According to reports, Abrini was identified on a Brussels airport still photo released by one or more airport video security surveillance CCTV cameras.

This photo –which identifies three of the terror suspects– has become a central piece of evidence in the police investigation.

In this still photo, the mystery “man in the hat” allegedly Mohamed Abrini is seen accompanying the two alleged suicide bombers, who according to reports blew themselves up in Brussels airport.

Moreover, Abrini happens to be, according to French police investigators, the main surviving suspect of the Paris November attacks.

The official story is that the attacks in both Paris and Brussels were ordered by the ISIS, which just so happens to be supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia in close liaison with Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels. (The issue of US-NATO-Israel support of the Islamic State is amply documented).

According to media reports:

The revelation that a Paris attacks suspect escorted two of the Brussels bombers to their deaths at the city’s airport is the strongest sign yet that the Islamic State attackers who brought mayhem to both European cities — killing a total of 162 people — were intimately linked. (See Guardian April 9, 2016)

Abrini is said to have confessed “his presence at the crime scene,” according to the official communique

The Authenticity of the Still Photo of the Three alleged Terrorists at Brussels Airport

Our analysis below will largely focus on the authenticity of the still photo allegedly from the Brussels airport CCTV surveillance cameras. CCTV systems are able to to take high resolution images on a time lapse basis. The still picture could also have taken by closed-circuit digital photography (CCDP), which is used to generate still digital images.

TIMELINE

To address this issue, it is important to recall the timeline:

7:55 am local time: “Surveillance footage shows three suspected attackers exiting a taxi and pushing luggage trolleys through Brussels Airport. Surveillance captured still images of the three suspects.” (See image ab0ve)

ONLY Three minutes later, it sounds absurd: Explosion According to reports the kamikaze bombers blow themselves up.

7.55-7.57am: Very much in a hurry, Abrini is said to have left the airport between 7.55am and 7.57am. before the blast occurred at 7.58am

7:58 am. Gunfire is reported in the departures terminal followed by an explosion. There were two blasts: a second blast erupts 10 seconds later.

8.20 am: The airport is closed. all roads and railway to the airport are closed.

9.07 am, DH.be (Dernière Heure), one of Belgium’s largest print and online media released an exclusive video footage of the bomb attack recorded by the CCTV surveillance cameras of the airport. This video was aired on all major TV networks, the images went round the World.

The SOURCE OF THIS VIDEO released by Dh.be at 9.07am did not emanate from the CCTV cameras of Brussels airport [22/03/216, DH.be logo pasted on the Moscow 2011 footage], it was a rerun of a 2011 bomb attack at Moscow international airport. (see image below)

Below is the screenshot of DH’s video release.



Now compare this to

Moscow airport attacks (January 2011) Video 1 scan (Moscow airport, January 2011)



9:10 am: A blast is reported on a train at the Maalbeek metro subway station, near the headquarters of the European Commission.

AGAIN: The video broadcast of the Maalbeek metro explosion was not from the CCTV cameras as reported by the police and the media. It was from the Minsk, Belarus metro bomb blast in April 2011.

(see photo scans at the foot of this article)

What we can conclude is that:

1) Dernière Heure broadcast a video of the Moscow airport bomb attack instead of the Brussels blast (recorded by CCTV camera) airport attack. Was it sloppy journalism or something else? This is a matter for the police to investigate. (The broadcast of the video footage of the Minsk metro attack was equally misleading).

2) The official CCTV airport security video was not available to Dernière Heure at 9.07am and the public was misled by the release of the Moscow video.

One would therefore assume that if the CCTV video footage of the blast had been available to Dernière Heure, they would have broadcast it instead of the Moscow footage.

3) Assuming that the airport CCTV video footage was not available to Dernière Heure at 9.07am, how come they were able to get their hands on still images from the CCTV video surveillance system showing the three alleged terrorists.

10.25am, less than an hour and a half following the release of the “fake” Moscow CCTV surveillance video of the bomb attack (i.e. Moscow) by Dernière Heure, a still image is released by Dernière Heure of the three alleged suspects walking with trolleys in the airport at 7.55am, three minutes before the first blast in the departure terminal.

The image allegedly from an airport CCTV surveillance camera in the departure terminal was released by DH.be at 10.25am, it was tagged EXCLUSIVE, No other media had early access to this alleged airport CCTV video and the still images. The latter were presented with some confusion as photographic evidence pertaining to the identity of the terror suspects.

Most media reports acknowledged that the mysterious photo of the alleged suicide bombers was released by the Brussels police rather than DH.be.

The twitter entries below confirm the exact time at which the airport photos were released:

First Release by DH.be at 10.27am (entitled “Photo Exclusive” by DH.be)



12.58pm, is the time at which the still image is “officially” released by the police in liaison with the office of the prosecutor. (procureur)

Release by Politie Brussel/Police de Bruxelles: 12.58pm



In an unusual twist, it would appear that Dernière Heure had access to the alleged CCTV still images from the surveillance cameras BEFORE the police.

The media reported that the photo was from federal police sources and was provided on the instructions of the federal prosecutor [procureur]:



DH.be released the still image of the three alleged terrorists at 10.25am, two and a half hours before its official release by Brussels police at 12.58pm, which suggests that the exclusive image published by Dernière Heure DID NOT emanate from the police authorities.

There is always the possibility that a police and/or airport surveillance personnel made these still images available to Dernière Heure prior to their official release by Brussels police at 12.58pm. It is also possible that the still images were taken by a CCTV camera which was live streaming and that this video livestream was accessible to the public.

The third possibility is that the Brussels police took cognizance of the photograph which Dernière Heure described as a still image from the CCTV airport surveillance system and decided to release it without verifying its original source.

On April 7, new video footage showing the man in the hat leaving the airport, circa 7.56am-7.57am was made public. The still image of him leaving the airport is stamped 7.54am







Now let us recap:

DH.be released both the Moscow 2011 video of the bomb attack at 9.07am (instead of the Brussels airport CCTV footage) as well as the still image allegedly from the same CCTV airport source (in the departure terminal) of the three terrorists at 10.25am.

Did DH.be have access to the security CCTV cameras?

At 9.07am, they did not have access to the CCTV video footage. They presented Moscow footage (in lieu of Brussels footage) at 9.07am under the byline: “video de surveillance a l’aeroport”. They then claimed that the still image released at 10.25am was from the same source, namely the CCTV camera system at Brussels airport, departure terminal.

Let us play the devil’s advocate: If DH.be had been in possession of the real surveillance video footage at 9.07am, why on earth would they have released the Moscow airport footage and then one and a half hours later come up with an allegedly authentic image from the CCTV airport cameras.

There is another important caveat. While police and surveillance authorities would be able to view and analyse almost immediately the camera footage of the bomb explosion, the same does not apply to the process of identifying three passengers with trolleys mingling amongst several hundred airline passengers also with trolleys in the departure terminal.

In other words, to identify three individuals from a large number of airport CCTV cameras with hundreds of passengers travelling early morning would not have been an easy fast-track undertaking: the still images pertaining to hundreds of passengers would have had to be examined, compared to police photographic records, etc: An almost impossible task to achieve in a matter of two hours after the blast, assuming that Dernière Heure had access to the CCTV surveillance video data. Normally, journalists would not have had access to the CCTV camera footage prior to the police authorities.

Moreover, the airport was immediately evacuated and closed down at 8.20am, twenty-two minutes after the blast. A state of chaos prevailed. And we are led to believe that the journalists of Dernière Heure managed in collaboration with CCTV camera surveillance personnel and/or police to get hold of the still image of three alleged terrorists, which they released at 10.25am, prior to the conduct of a police investigation and less than two and half hours following the 7.58am bomb blast.

Video 2 scan (Minsk Metro, April 2011)

Here is a screenshot of the Minsk 2011 video footage broadcast on Belgian network TV and on the internet depicting the explosion in the Metro in Brussels, March 22, 2016



Now Compare the above to the screenshot of the Minsk April 2011 attacks.



These are the questions for police investigators.

1. Why did Dernière Heure deliberately broadcast at 9.07am the video footage of the January 2011 Moscow airport terror attack?

Why did the media broadcast the video footage of a Minsk, Belarus metro terror attack in 2011 in lieu of the surveillance video of the metro?

In other words both the metro and airport videos were “fake”.

2. Did Dernière Heure interface with Belgian police and intelligence prior to releasing the Moscow airport video which was broadcast Worldwide?

3. Who authorized the release of this fake video?

4. What are the legal implications of this negligence on the part of Dernière Heure?

5. Where did Dernière Heure get the still image from which they released as an EXCLUSIVE at 10.25am prior to the conduct of a police investigation?

6. Was there evidence of them having access to the CCTV cameras? Did the CCTV airport surveillance personnel provide Dernière Heure with access to CCTV footage? Assuming they did, how on earth did the Derniere Heure journalists manage to single out a still image of three passengers, establish and corroborate their identity in the absence of a police investigation and without immediate access to police records.

7. Did the police corroborate the identity of these three individuals prior to 10.25am and communicate the results of their investigation to Dernière Heure?

Highly unlikely: lest we forget, the police released the still image at 12.58am, two and a half hours later. By that time, the EXCLUSIVE picture by Dernière Heure had been picked up by the news chain, it had circled the globe prior to its official release by the Brussels police.

Concluding Remarks

People in Belgium who are living the dramatic aftermath of this national catastrophe and loss of life: Draw your own conclusions. Is your government telling the truth?

The Belgian police, by addressing these seven questions, should be in a position to establish the authenticity and the source of the still pictures of the three men at the airport. Will they undertake this task?

For full report containing the videos of the Minsk and Moscow bomb attacks, see:

The Brussels Attacks: What is True, What is Fake? Three Daesh Suspects at Brussels AirportBy Prof Michel Chossudovsky, March 25, 2016

Fake Video Used in News Coverage of Brussels Terror Attacks By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, March 22, 2016

Media Manipulation: More Fake Video Reports of the Brussels Terror Attacks By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, March 23, 2016

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Birmingham man found guilty of giving cash to Brussels attack suspect

Zakaria Boufassil, 26, convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism
Zakaria Boufassil looked stunned as the verdict was delivered in Kingston crown court on Tuesday. Photograph: West Midlands police/PA

Jamie Grierson and Duncan Gardham

Tuesday 6 December 2016 13.53 GMT
First published on Tuesday 6 December 2016 13.37 GMT




A man from Birmingham has been convicted of funding international terrorism by supplying cash to the so-called man in the hat in the Brussels airport attack.

Zakaria Boufassil, a Belgian national, supplied £3,000 to Mohamed Abrini, who earned his nickname after being spotted on CCTV at Brussels airport just before the bombings in March, the court heard in a case that underlined the complexity of European terror networks.

A jury of six men and six women at Kingston crown court on Tuesday found Boufassil, 26, guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism. A co-defendant, Mohammed Ali Ahmed, also from Birmingham, pleaded guilty to the charge last month.

The cash, which was handed to Abrini in a park in Birmingham, was taken from an account that held overpaid housing benefits, the court heard.

Abrini, 31, was arrested in Belgium and accused of “participating in terrorist acts” linked to the Brussels Zaventem airport suicide bombing on 22 March. The Belgian Moroccan was also wanted by French authorities over the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris in which 130 people died.

Abrini fled Brussels airport after his two alleged accomplices blew themselves up. He had been on Europe’s most wanted list since being identified as one of two suspects seen on CCTV travelling in a car two days before the Paris attacks.

In a transcript of an interview with Abrini by Belgian investigators, which was read to the court during the trial, he said that while visiting the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, a man called Abdelhamid Abaaoud had asked him to collect the cash in the UK as a favour.


Mohamed Abrini and ‘man in hat’ CCTV still. Photograph: AFP/Getty

He also revealed it had been “Zakaria” who had handed him the bag of money in the “forest”, but that he had not been told by Abaaoud who it was from or how much he was to collect.

During his UK visit, which took place between 9 July and 16 July 2015, Abrini visited Old Trafford football stadium and the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester and the Bullring in Birmingham, as well as casinos in both cities, after travelling to Britain from Syria via Turkey.

A number of images were found on the phone he had been using, including one of a roulette machine, a number of pictures of Manchester United’s ground, and some of a moth in a hotel room.

Abrini claimed he had not been on any “reconnaissance trips in relation to preparatory terrorist attacks” in either Birmingham, Manchester or London.

Abrini said there was no plan to attack the UK because the country has a “more developed secret service” as well as “better observation techniques”.

The court heard how money was taken from an account held by Anouar Haddouchi, an associate of Ahmed who previously lived in Birmingham and had travelled to Syria to fight for Isis. The account contained overpaid housing benefits totalling £5,413 that had been paid between 21 December 2014 and 1 November 2015.

Ahmed used a replacement debit card for the account to make 17 withdrawals between 30 May and 30 June 2015, and £3,000 of the cash was handed to Abrini in Small Heath Park, Birmingham, on 11 July last year.

Telecommunications evidence showed there was a “convergence” of the three men in the park the previous day, which the prosecution said was to “act as a dress rehearsal” and to see if Abrini was being followed. Data showed Abrini, Ahmed and Boufassil had also been together in the same area the next day between 3.29pm and 3.34pm.

During the trial Boufassil, who looked stunned as the verdict was delivered, admitted meeting Abrini in the park, but denied it had anything to do terrorism and its funding.

He insisted that Ahmed had never communicated his plans, but “took advantage of his naivety” and had not told him that Abrini, who he claimed to never have met before, was a “bad person”.

He said he was a cannabis user and a “moderate and tolerant” Sufi Muslim and described members of Isis as “worse than animals”.

He and Ahmed will be sentenced on 12 December at the same court.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boufassil had hoped to tell the jury about his alleged recruitment by MI5 but the prosecution objected on the grounds of relevance and admissibility and it was ruled out by the maggot infested judge, Mr Justice Baker.

Convicted terrorist says MI5 'pumped and dumped' him

Zakaria Boufassil, who gave cash to Brussels bombing suspect, says agency got information from him before his arrest
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/12/convicted-terrorist-sa ys-mi5-pumped-and-dumped-him

Zakaria Boufassil’s lawyer said he was told by MI5 he wasn’t in any trouble.
Jamie Grierson and Duncan Gardham - Monday 12 December 2016 11.13

A Birmingham man who gave cash to the “man in the hat” Brussels bombing suspect claims he was recruited by MI5 and then “thrown to the wolves”, it can now be disclosed.

Zakaria Boufassil, 26, said he held several meetings with the British intelligence agency’s personnel, who paid him £3,000 for information and bought him gifts, including Camel cigarettes, a Samsung mobile phone and clothes.

Boufassil and Mohammed Ali Ahmed, 27, also of Birmingham were jailed on Monday for handing over £3,000 to Mohamed Abrini at a meeting in Small Heath Park, Birmingham, on 11 July 2015. Abrini earned his nickname “man in the hat” after being spotted on CCTV at Brussels airport just before the bombings in March.

Boufassil was sentenced to three years in prison, while Ahmed was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Boufassil claimed the MI5 officers approached him after Abrini was arrested in April. Six weeks after sharing what he knew with MI5 about his meeting with Abrini, Boufassil was arrested by West Midlands police on his return from a holiday in Morocco which he claims to have paid for with the money from MI5.

Boufassil had hoped to tell the jury about his alleged recruitment by MI5 but the prosecution objected on the grounds of relevance and admissibility and it was ruled out by the judge, Mr Justice Baker.

Boufassil was found guilty last week of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism. His claims can be reported after an attempt to keep them secret by prosecutors was dropped.

At a legal argument hearing held away from the jury in Boufassil’s trial, his defending barrister, Dorian Lovell-Pank QC, said: “In Zakaria’s eyes, he feels he was effectively picked up by MI5 and was pumped and dumped.

“He found himself approached by the security service and he was reluctant at first, then more gradually, he told them what he knew about Abrini and the meeting in the park.

“He was told by MI5 he wasn’t in any trouble and was told they were interested in signing him up or having him on their books.

“He feels he ceased to be of any use to them and he was effectively thrown to the wolves.”

The prosecution said they could “neither confirm nor deny” Boufassil’s claim, which is a standard response from MI5.

The money given to Abrini was taken from an account that held overpaid housing benefits, the court heard.

Abrini, 31, was arrested in Belgium and accused of “participating in terrorist acts” linked to the Brussels Zaventem airport suicide bombing on 22 March. The Belgian Moroccan was also wanted by French authorities over the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris in which 130 people died.

Abrini fled Brussels airport after his two alleged accomplices blew themselves up. He had been on Europe’s most-wanted list since being identified as one of two suspects seen on CCTV travelling in a car two days before the Paris attacks.

During his UK visit, which took place between 9 and 16 July 2015, Abrini visited Old Trafford football stadium and the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester and the Bullring in Birmingham, as well as casinos in both cities, after travelling from Syria via Turkey.

A number of images were found on the phone he had been using, including one of a roulette machine, a number of pictures of Manchester United’s ground, and some of a moth in a hotel room.

Abrini claimed he had not been on any “reconnaissance trips in relation to preparatory terrorist attacks” in either Birmingham, Manchester or London.

He said there was no plan to attack the UK because the country has a “more developed secret service” as well as “better observation techniques”.

The court heard how money was taken from an account held by Anouar Haddouchi, an associate of Ahmed who previously lived in Birmingham and had travelled to Syria to fight for Islamic State. The account contained overpaid housing benefits totalling £5,413 that had been paid between 21 December 2014 and 1 November 2015.

Ahmed used a replacement debit card for the account to make 17 withdrawals between 30 May and 30 June 2015, and £3,000 of the cash was handed to Abrini in Small Heath Park. Ahmed pleaded guilty last month to the same charge against Boufassil.

During his trial, Boufassil admitted meeting Abrini in the park, but denied it had anything to do with terrorism and its funding.

He insisted Ahmed had never communicated his plans, but took advantage of his naivety and had not told him that Abrini, who he claimed to never have met before, was a “bad person”.

He said he was a cannabis user and a “moderate and tolerant” Sufi Muslim. He said members of Isis were “worse than animals”.

More news Topics
UK security and counter-terrorism MI5 Crime

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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
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Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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