Belgian court sentences Paris terror suspects to 16 years in jail

Belgian court sentences Paris terror suspects to 16 years in jail

Brussels, July 6 (IANS) A Belgian court has sentenced a group of Islamic State suspects up to 16 years in jail for last year’s Paris terror attacks that left more than 130 persons dead.

The three main defendants at the trial, Marouane El Bali, Schofield El Abdi and Mohamed Arshad were found guilty of belonging to the IS militant group and were sentenced on Tuesday to 16 years in prison.

The fourth, Omar Damache, was sentenced to eight years, Xinhua news agency reported.

Prosecutors said the men standing trial had returned from fighting with the IS in Syria and were in constant contact with the group through the leader of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

Abaaoud was killed in a November raid in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis.

The cell had intended to target Zaventem airport in Brussels on March 23 this year, a judge said.

The terrorist cell was dismantled by police during a raid on January 15, 2015 in Verviers, an eastern Belgian town close to the German border.

A total of 16 suspects were charged in connection with the raid, but nine remain at large.

During the operation, police found “ingredients” to manufacture six kg of explosives.

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