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IRAQ

Spain rules out aerial strikes on Isis in Iraq

Spain foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo on Wednesday said Spain would would neither send troops to Iraq nor participate in aerial attacks against the terrorist group Isis.

Spain rules out aerial strikes on Isis in Iraq
A US Air Forces Central Command image shows US Air Force B-1B Lancer refueling prior to strike operations against Isis in Syria on Saturday. Photo: US Air Forces/AFP

Military jets from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and a number of Arabic countries have been carrying out targeted attacks against Isis in Iraq, with the Americans also bombing Isis targets within Syria. 

On Wednesday France said it was ramping up its involvement in the conflict, without giving more detail.

But Spain's involvement in an international effort to fight the group would be limited to the "use of bases, logistical support, supply of lethal weapons, information gathering, and in-flight refuelling of aircraft", Margallo told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.  

During the interview, García-Margallo also stressed the 2003 war in Iraq hadn't played a role in Spain's decision not to join the combat in Iraq.

"The one thing has nothing to do with the other," the foreign minister said, stressing the Iraqi government had called for international support on this occasion.

SEE ALSO: Denmark to send seven fighter jets to fight Isis in Iraq

Spain's involvement in the Second Gulf War was hugely contentious domestically and had a major bearing on the results of the country's 2004 general elections.

A terrorist attack in Madrid on March 11th, 2004, just three days before Spanish voters went to the polls, killed a total of 191 people on two packed commuter trains.

Spain's conservative Popular Party government of the time initially blamed the attacks on the Basque separatist group ETA. But many Spaniards believed they were trying to deflect attention from a possible link between the bombings and Spain's involvement in the Iraq War.

The Popular Party lost the general elections and a socialist PSOE government took power, subsequently withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq.

Spain recently announced it was sending 130 Spanish soldiers to the southern Turkish city of Adana to guarantee the safety of the local population against "a possible air attack or ballistic missiles from its southern border" with Syria.

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POLICE

WATCH: Spanish police arrest ‘most wanted’ ISIS suspect hiding out in Spanish lockdown

A former British rapper and notorious Islamic state suspect has been arrested in Spain, judicial sources said on Wednesday.

WATCH: Spanish police arrest 'most wanted' ISIS suspect hiding out in Spanish lockdown
Photo: Ministry Interior

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a former rapper from west London who once posted an image of himself holding a severed head on Twitter, has been arrested in the southern coastal city of Almeria, the source said.

Police had on Tuesday announced the arrest of “one of the most wanted foreign terrorist fighters of Daesh” — the Arabic acronym for Islamic State — identifying him as an Egyptian national but without giving his name or saying exactly when he was detained.

Speaking to AFP, a Spanish judicial source confirmed it was Bary.   

Police said the suspect “had recently entered Spain illegally and was found hiding in a rented flat” in Almeria where several other people were also arrested.

“He is one of the most wanted terrorists in Europe on grounds of his criminal record within the ranks of Daesh and because he is extremely dangerous,” a police statement said.

Before arriving in Spain, Bary spent “several years in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq”, police said, describing him as presenting “some very strange personality traits and an extremely violent criminal profile which had brought him to the attention of Europe's police and intelligence services”.

Born in London, Bary shot to notoriety after his Twitter post in which could be seen holding up the severed head alongside the caption: “Chillin' with my homie, or what's left of him”.

He is the son of Adel Abdel Bary, an Egyptian who in 2015 was sentenced to 25 years behind bars by a US court for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 and wounded more than 5,000 others.

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