Despite being the subject of a strict counter-terrorism order, a senior Islamic State fundraiser has been able to escape the UK to join with jihadists in Syria, further bringing into doubt the ability of UK authorities to control Britain’s borders.
Syrian-born Mohammed Khaled, the 45-year-old Islamic State fundraiser with nine aliases, lived in west London where security services believe he raised tens of thousands of pounds for the terror group by diverting humanitarian aid funds intended for Syrian refugees into the ISIS machine.
As a result of these activities he was on a terror sanctions list and his assets had been frozen in a terrorism finance order issued in May this year. The terms of the order required banks to close his accounts and block any financial transactions.
Mr. Khlaed had been challenging the freezing order, but having fled the UK his case was thrown out of court. A High Court judgment seen by The Telegraph reveals that security services believe he has returned to his home country.
How a man who is one of only 23 terror suspects whose assets are frozen Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing Act 2010 managed to elude authorities is unknown, and so too is the precise timing of his escape to Syria. Although Mr. Khaled is likely to become the subject of an ‘exclusion order’ which bars him from returning to the UK, whether or not border authorities will be able to stop him entering is uncertain given their inability to stop him leaving.
According to the court papers, security services believe Mr. Khaled “had in fact gone to Syria in order to engage in terrorist activities there. His support and funding of Isil were the basis of the order.”
The Telegraph reports more than 400 jihadists who have returned to the UK after fighting in Iraq and Syria nevertheless remain free to use their existing bank accounts, even though British security services will have identified them as terrorists.