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Al Qaeda suspects' trial begins in Belgium

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Al Qaeda suspects' trial begins in Belgium


A major terrorism trial has got underway in Belgium, amid tight security.

Nine people are suspected of involvement in a network of militants who trained in al Qaeda camps.
Two of them are being tried in their absence as they are still on the run.

One of the fugitives is married to the central figure in the proceedings, Belgian-Moroccan woman Malika El Aroud.

Her first husband also gained notoriety as one of the suspected killers of anti-Taliban leader Ahmed Shah Massoud. The head of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, he was assassinated in a suicide bombing in 2001, just days before the September 11 attacks.

Cleared of links to that killing, El Aroud is now alleged to have masterminded the recruitment in Belgium of fighters eager to train for jihad on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Arrested during raids in Belgium in 2008 just ahead of an EU summit there, she denies having any links with al Qaeda or organising any attacks on Western soil.

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