Two UK men accused of funding captured Brussels bomb suspect

Benjamin Hall reports from London


Two Birmingham men were accused in court Friday of giving money to a key suspect in the Brussels and Paris bombings in a case that may link British residents to those plots.

Prosecutors said in Westminster Magistrates Court Friday that Mohammed Ali Ahmed and Zakaria Boufassil, both 26, allegedly gave more than 3,000 pounds ($4,400) to suspect Mohamed Abrini in Birmingham in July.

The two suspects are charged with violating Britain's Terrorism Act by providing someone with money that they knew, or had reason to believe, would be used for terrorism.

Abrini, who is in custody, was the "man in the hat" seen on video footage moments before the deadly March 22 bombings at Brussels airport that killed 16 people. He was also wanted in the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris that claimed 130 lives.

A third suspect from Birmingham, Soumaya Boufassil, 29, was also charged along with Ahmed with preparing acts of terrorism between Jan.1, 2015 and April 8.

She wore a burka in court and spoke only to confirm name, date of birth and address. The two men also provided personal details but no other information.

The three had been arrested in Birmingham on April 14-15 and were charged Thursday evening. The next hearing is set for May 13 at London's Old Bailey courthouse.