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Identical twin brothers who posed as charity collectors to raise thousands of pounds for al-Qaeda fighters were jailed yesterday.

Shabir and Shafiq Ali, 25, imitated fundraisers for charity Muslim Aid, which collects money for Palestinians and the poor.

They wired at least £3 000 in donations to their elder brother, Shamim, 29, after he travelled to Somalia to join Islamic insurgents.

Their fraud was part of a larger plot led by Shabaaz Hussain, 28, who was jailed for more than five years in March after sending £9,000 to fighters.

The brothers were caught after counter-terrorism police raided their home and discovered a recording of a phone conversation with Shamim, which they had kept as a memento because they expected him to be killed in fighting. They also found extremist literature, including a pamphlet by al-Qaeda hate preacher Anwar Al-Awlaki, at their home in Tower Hamlets, east London.

Barristers for the brothers said the pair had been driven by concern for their elder brother, who they claimed was mentally ill, and did not intend for the money to fall into terrorist hands.

Sentencing them at the Old Bailey to three years in prison, Mr Justice Fulford said: “The court must reflect the seriousness of offences of this kind in sentences given that they were intended to support terrorism.” - Daily Mail