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Hundreds of thousands in UK benefit money used to fund terror, says Lord Carlile

Hundreds of thousands of pounds in British benefits have been used to fund terrorism in recent years, a former watchdog has claimed.

Lord Carlile of Berriew, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said the problem had become worse during the rise of Islamic State, also known as Isis, which gained prominence in 2014 after seizing swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

He called on the Government to put in place a system to monitor housing benefit paid to people when they leave the country.

It comes after the conviction of a Belgian national who helped to fund terrorism by giving cash from overpaid benefits to Brussels bombing suspect Mohamed Abrini during a secret rendezvous in a Birmingham park.

Zakaria Boufassil, together with Mohammed Ali Ahmed, supplied £3,000 to Abrini, dubbed "the man in the hat" after he was caught on CCTV at Brussels airport just before the bombing in March.

On Tuesday, Boufassil, 26, from Birmingham, was found guilty at Kingston Crown Court in south-west London of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism.

Lord Carlile told The Times: "Several hundred thousand pounds in small remittances have been used to fund terrorism in one way or another."

He added: "(Such activity) has increased during the rise of Isis. Certainly the Government should ensure that there is more triage available when housing benefits recipients are known to have gone to another country."

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