• Spain's news in English

Up to 95 Spaniards are Syria Isis fighters

Alex Dunham · 25 Aug 2014, 12:08

Published: 25 Aug 2014 12:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

As European authorities continue to release reports showing a shocking increase in the number of citizens from their countries heading to fight in Iraq and Syria, Spain’s Interior Ministry is also attempting to calculate the official figure.

The ministry headed by Jorge Fernández Díaz has so far put the figure at 60, higher than that released by Spain’s Police Information Commission.

An October 2013 report by Spain’s Interior Ministry actually estimated that “an average of 30 people a month - including men, women and children – were being recruited and sent to Syria” from Spain.

The same study did add however that the influx “must have been circumstantial” as the rate was soon “at a standstill”.

A Europol study published last May named Spain as one of the EU's main terrorism hubs, with only France and the UK more at risk of terror attacks and arrests.

Madrid, Barcelona and the African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla are considered to be the country’s main breeding grounds for terrorists.

Spain’s proximity to Morocco is proving equally threatening as many ISIS recruits enlisted in cities such as Tangier or Tetuan hold Spanish residency.

“We know that many of these fighters want to return and are currently in negotiation with Moroccan authorities,” Spanish national daily El País quoted Spanish antiterrorism sources as saying.

“Given the proximity to Ceuta and Melilla, we’re on maximum alert.”

READ ALSO: Spanish girl, 14, arrested 'on way to join ISIS'

At present Spanish authorities only have twelve people on the official list of people recruited to fight with ISIS: nine Spanish citizens, three foreigners – five of whom have died.

The only Spaniard they know has managed to return is Ceuta resident Abdeluahid Daduk Mohamed, born in 1985, married and father of two children.

He was arrested in the southern Spanish city of Malaga last January after flying back from Turkey.

Story continues below…

The most dramatic figure provided about Spanish ISIS fighters came from independent radicalization research body ICSR, which put the highest estimate at 95 and the lowest at 34.

According to the same organization, Western Europe has seen a massive upsurge in ISIS recruits with up to 1,937 foreigners (18 percent of all Syria fighters) now in the war-torn country.

Official figures show the French and Danish governments have doubled their estimates since the spring, while in Belgium, Britain and Germany governments believe their figures have quadrupled.

SEE ALSO: Most Italian jihadis with Isis aren't immigrants

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man rescued from bin after climbing in find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
jobs available