Belgians in Syria – Vilvoorde fighters liaised with Verviers cell
Thursday, 01 October 2015
The trial of 4 Vilvoorde and Machelen youths suspected of terrorism started at the criminal court in Brussels this Thursday. Three of the accused left for Syria to join the ranks of Jabhat al-Nosra in March 2013 but 2 of the young fighters returned to Belgium a few weeks later. At least one of the suspects was in contact with Sharia4Belgium and with recruiter Khalid Zerkani from Molenbeek and probably with the Verviers terrorist cell.
The 4 suspects were members of a group of Vilvoorde youths radicalised by Fouad Belkacem, the former leader of Sharia4Belgium. At least 3 of them, Mohammed Sadik Cherabi, Mohamed Aquichouh and Annas Koundi, went to Syria to join other Vilvoorde youths in a Jabhat al-Nosra brigade in March 2013. According to a statement by Jejoen Bontinck, also sentenced for terrorism acts, the above allegedly kept an eye on then tortured him.
Mohamed Aquichouh came back to Belgium in April 2013. Mohammed Sadik Cherabi followed shortly afterwards, at the end of June 2013. The latter was in touch with Khalid Zerkani, who was recruiting new volunteers to join Syrian jihadist groups. Mohammed Sadik Cherabi left for Syria in October 2013 and returned to Belgium in February 2014. He allegedly helped several potential fighters to get to Syria and liaised with suspected members of the Verviers terrorist cell.