Tuesday 25 October 2016

Four suspected Islamic State recruiters arrested in Spain and Morocco

Published 23/02/2016 | 10:41

Four suspected members of a jihadi cell have been arrested
Four suspected members of a jihadi cell have been arrested

Spanish and Moroccan police have arrested four suspected members of a jihadi cell that sought to recruit fighters for the Islamic State group.

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Three people were arrested in Spain's North African enclave city of Ceuta while a Moroccan was arrested in the Moroccan border town of Farkhana, next to Melilla, Spain's other North African territory.

One of those detained in Ceuta was a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who once fought with militants in Afghanistan. He was not named by Spanish authorities but was described as "a leader who was trained in handling weapons, explosives and in military tactics".

Another was the brother of a fighter who carried out a 2013 suicide attack against the Syrian military, a Moroccan government statement said.

The suspects had set up contacts to try to acquire weapons and bomb-making materials and were aiming "to carry out terrorist acts in Spanish territory", the statement said, without specifying possible targets.

They also worked to recruit teenagers from Ceuta to join IS in Iraq and Syria, the Spanish Interior Ministry said.

Spanish police arrested about 100 suspected Islamic extremists last year and more than 600 in total since the 2004 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people and injured nearly 2,000.

Press Association

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