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Two men who gave cash to Brussels terror suspect are sentenced

Zakaria Boufassil, left, and Mohammed Ali Ahmed.

Zakaria Boufassil, left, and Mohammed Ali Ahmed.  (West Midlands Police)

Two British men who gave money to one of the main suspects in the Paris and Brussels atrocities have been sent to prison.

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Zakaria Boufassil and Mohammed Ali Ahmed secretly met Mohamed Abrini in a Birmingham park last year and handed him about $3,700 in cash - months before a terror attack in the French capital killed 130 people.

A jury was told how Abrini was sent to collect the money by alleged Paris ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

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Abrini then allegedly went on to help with the attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station which killed 32 people on 22 March this year.

The 31-year-old Belgian national became known as the "man in the hat" after he was captured on CCTV with two suicide bombers at Zaventem airport.

Boufassil, 26, was given a three-year sentence after being found guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism by a jury at Kingston Crown Court in London.

Ahmed, 27, had pleaded guilty to the same charge at the start of the trial and received an eight-year sentence.

The judge in the case noted that Ahmed's offending had also included engaging in physical training and researching "secure methods" to allow him and Boufassil's sister, Soumaya, to travel to Syria "undetected".

Soumaya Boufassil was initially charged on the same indictment as the two men but walked free from court last week after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against her.

Justice Baker told Ahmed: "I am sure that you are an individual who has for some time and continues to hold extreme Islamist beliefs, and that you are committed to the cause of Islamic State."

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