Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham man convicted of Islamic State membership

Awat Hamasalih Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Awat Hamasalih said he was not a member of IS

A recruiter for so-called Islamic State (IS) who helped two British would-be jihadis in their attempt to join fighters in Syria has been convicted.

Iraqi Kurd Awat Hamasalih, 35, from Kingstanding, Birmingham, had denied being an IS member.

He helped IS through speeches, social media and tipping off a commander of imminent attack, the Old Bailey heard.

Jurors were told he helped two would-be jihadis preparing to go to Syria using the code "car wash".

Giving evidence Hamasalih, from Finchley Road, admitted being a supporter of IS but said he was not a member and denounced the recent terror attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge.

But the jury found him guilty by a majority of 10 to two of IS membership and possessing documents likely to be useful to the terror group.

Military documents

The court heard how in May last year the two men he helped were arrested.

Shivan Azeez Zangana was detained at the al Noor mosque in Birmingham and Aras Hamid was arrested en-route to Dover after being found hiding in the back of a lorry.

In January, Hamid, 27, was jailed for seven years and Zangana, 21, was handed three years after they were convicted at Kingston Crown Court of preparing for acts of terrorism.

Hamasalih, who came to the UK in 2002 and became a British citizen in 2008, had also raised funds for IS through social media appeals, jurors were told.

He was found in possession of a military document containing information about the identities of Peshmerga fighters resisting IS expansion.

In September 2014, he revealed to IS commander Khattab Al-Kurdi the Peshmerga forces were preparing to attack Mosul in northern Iraq the following Sunday, the jury was told.

The court heard Hamasalih obtained documents containing the personal details of Peshmerga military personnel, the force working to safeguard Iraqi Kurdistan from invading IS forces.

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