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2 Belgians, 7 French Suspects Accused of Terror Funding

2 Belgians, 7 French Suspects Accused of Terror Funding

Monday, 21 October, 2019 - 09:00
Police and rescue workers stand at the scene after two assailants had taken five people hostage in the church at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy, France, July 26, 2016. (Reuters)
Brussels - Abdullah Mustafa

Judicial authorities in Belgium and France have charged nine people with funding terrorism and partaking in terror activities.

Security investigations followed by raids and arrests took place in Belgian and French cities within the framework of security and judicial coordination between Brussels and Paris.

Belgian investigators seized large amounts of money ranging from 8,000 to 10,000 euros during searches. According to the Belgian federal prosecutor's office, the money raised in France and Belgium was intended for ISIS wives, whose number was not specified, to pay smugglers to flee their detention in Syria.

Mid last week, Belgian police raided sites and arrested a number of suspects for sending money to northeastern Syria to facilitate the smuggling of women from ISIS families from Kurdish camps there, media reports said.

Paul Van Tigchelt, head of OCAD, told a parliamentary committee that two men and three women, either Belgian or with links to Belgium, were no longer in prison in a camp where they had been held under Kurdish control since the defeat of ISIS by US-backed coalition forces in 2017.

In Paris, on Friday evening, the French judiciary tried seven detainees on charges of financing terrorism and raising money to send to ISIS detainees in Syria to help them escape.

The seven were arrested in a raid in which investigators seized their phones and USB drivers.

Since Turkey launched its offensive in Syria, Western countries fear that 12,000 extremists held by Kurds, including 2,500-3,000 foreigners, may flee.

The stated objective of Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria is to carve out a “safe zone” to resettle many of the 3.6 million Syrian war refugees it is hosting. Ankara also seeks to defeat the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as a terrorist group aligned with Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

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