Men Behind Terror Attacks In Paris, Brussels Lived On Welfare While Planning Attacks

REUTERS/Yves Herman

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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At least of five men behind the recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels lived on welfare while plotting the attacks, according to Belgian financial investigators.

The cell behind the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and the March 22 attack in Brussels killed a total of 162 people. An investigation now reveals that the well-planned attacks may have been funded, at least in part, by unemployment benefits given to the terrorists. (RELATED: Step Inside The One District In Brussels That’s Connected To Nearly Every Major Terror Attack On The West)

The five terrorists collected a total of $56,000 in welfare, far more than the estimated cost of $37,000 to carry out both attacks.

“We’ve identified that the benefit system is vulnerable to abuse for terrorist financing purposes,” Tom Keatinge, director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told The Wall Street Journal. “What are we going to do about that?”

Islamic State points out that welfare is a great source of money for jhadists to live on while they plan attacks in a 2015 manual called “How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide.”

One of the welfare beneficiaries was Salah Abdelslam, the only surviving suspect from the Paris attack. Abdeslam collected more than $21,000 before he went off welfare three weeks before the attack.

Abdeslam is currently in custody in France and is looking at 22 years in prison for his involvement.

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