- Hani al-Sibai is being investigated by police on suspicion of benefit fraud
- His benefits were cut after photos taken by the Mail cast doubt over disability
- Al-Sibai has been accused of radicalising Islamic State executioner Jihadi John
Hani al-Sibai is being investigated by police on suspicion of benefit fraud after being exposed by the Daily Mail
An Islamic preacher linked to the Tunisia beach massacre is being investigated by police on suspicion of benefit fraud after being exposed by the Daily Mail.
Fanatic Hani al-Sibai has also had his benefits cut after photographs taken by the Mail cast doubt on his claim to be severely disabled.
Al-Sibai, who lives in a £1 million house in West London, is described as a ‘key influencer’ of Ansar al-Sharia, the group believed to have recruited the gunman who killed 30 UK tourists in June 2015.
The hate preacher told British officials he was too unwell to work while fighting efforts to deport him, claiming almost £50,000 per year in benefits.
He said he could not walk without severe discomfort and needed help with washing and getting dressed.
But in the days after the Tunisia attack, a Daily Mail photographer caught him strolling in the sunshine, while carrying a heavy scanner under one arm.
Al-Sibai was also spotted pushing a wheelchair to his car before throwing it into the boot with ease.
Al-Sibai, who lives in a £1 million house, is described as a ‘key influencer’ of Ansar al-Sharia, the group believed to have recruited the gunman who killed 30 UK tourists in June 2015
Last night a source revealed he has now had his disability benefits cut. The preacher has been interviewed under caution and is now facing a police investigation, which could lead to him being prosecuted for benefit fraud.
Al-Sibai, 56, who is from Egypt, arrived in the UK in 1994.
He had his asylum claim thrown out four years later due to his involvement with the terror group Egyptian Islamic Jihad. But he has managed to stay in the country on human rights grounds. He has been given £123,000 in legal aid.
The preacher was called a ‘key influencer’ of Ansar al-Sharia in a 2013 report by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, based in The Hague.
He is also accused in court documents of praising Osama bin Laden as ‘a lion among the lions of Islam’ and he said the July 7 terror attacks in London in 2005 were a ‘great victory’.
Al-Sibai has also been accused of radicalising Islamic State executioner Mohammed Emwazi, known as ‘Jihadi John’, through his website.
Just days after the Tunisia massacre, the married father-of-five was seen walking unaided even though court documents describe him and his wife as ‘severely disabled’.
Al-Sibai has also been accused of radicalising Islamic State executioner Mohammed Emwazi, known as ‘Jihadi John’
The preacher parked his Toyota Corolla Verso – which cost £16,995 – in a disabled spot outside his housing association home. Al-Sibai and his wife were believed to be receiving benefits of more than £48,000 a year.
As well as disability living allowance, they were thought to be claiming employment and support allowance, income support, child benefit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.
Last night, a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘We take all allegations of benefit fraud seriously and investigate every case... however we cannot comment on individual cases.’
Al-Sibai denies being a key influencer of Ansar al-Sharia.
He denies rejoicing in the 2005 London terror attacks, saying he meant it was a ‘great victory’ for Al Qaeda.
He said he does not support Al Qaeda or IS and claims that to the best of his knowledge he never met Emwazi.
His lawyer added: ‘He asks we repeat his condemnation of the killing of innocent people wherever this occurs in the world, including those in Tunisia.’
The probe comes days after the conclusion of the six-week inquest into the deaths of the British tourists in Tunisia. In total, 38 people were murdered by Seifeddine Rezgui at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel.