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Belgians in court on jihadi recruitment charges

Published on Mar 10, 2014 10:54 PM

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The trial of 19 Belgians on terrorism charges began Monday under tight security amid concerns the 15 men and 4 women were part of a local jihadist recruitment network.

They face charges of either fighting alongside jihadist groups in Somalia, having attempted to go to Somalia or Syria, or of having provided support to a Belgian-based recruitment operation.

All 19 face the charge of "belonging to a terrorist group".

One of the accused, Brussels hairdresser Hassan Khafi, has admitted to the court that he left Belgium in 2011 in an attempt to join the Somali Al-Shebab militant group, which has links to Al Qaeda.

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