• Spain's news in English

Network of 14 suspected jihadists arrested in Morocco and Spain

The Local · 25 Aug 2015, 15:55

Published: 25 Aug 2015 09:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Aug 2015 15:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A joint police operation between Spain and Morocco dismantled a recruitment ring that targeted young men and sent them to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Simultaneous police raids in Madrid and cities across Morocco saw the arrest of fourteen members of the cell, according to details released by Spain’s interior ministry on Tuesday.

One man was arrested in the southeast Madrid suburb of Martin de La Vega, while others belonging to the same network were held in Fez, Casablanca, Nador, Al Hocei,a and Driouech, all cities in Morocco.

No details were given of the man arrested in Madrid except that he was under 30 years old and was married with two young children.

"Those arrested belong to a network whose principal activity was recruiting and sending foreign fighters to join the ranks of the Islamic State in the regions of Syria and Iraq," said the interior ministry in a statement.

"The joint counter-terrorist operation shows the excellent cooperation between Spanish and Moroccan security services in dealing with the jihadist terrorist threat," it continued.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters outside Congress:  "All nations are threatened. We have already said this is not a religious war but a war waged by barbarians against all who oppose their absolutely fanatical vision of Islam which has nothing to do with authentic Islam."

The arrests were the latest in a series of recent arrests made of people connected to the jihadist organization in Spain.

They came just a day after Spanish security experts warned that around 800 Islamist extremists who have returned from Syria or Iraq are preparing to launch attacks in Europe.

Spanish radio Cadena Ser quoted the security sources in a report on Monday.

On Friday a Moroccan who had lived in Spain was arrested following a foiled attack on a high-speed French train.

Ayoub El Khazzani, 25, originally from Tetouan in northern Morocco, arrived in Spain in 2007 and lived there for seven years, moving between Algeciras in the south and Madrid, before travelling to France.

He is suspected of having had contact with radical Islamists and had been put on a list marked as "potentially dangerous".

Europe has been grappling with growing jihadist cells and radicalised Muslims leaving to fight for the Islamic State or joining the rebels in Iraq and Syria.

France has the highest overall numbers joining the jihad, with the government reporting that 843 had left for Syria as of May - more than half of them unknown to authorities at the time of their departure.

Spain meanwhile reported in July that an estimated 125 people of either Spanish nationality or with residency in Spain have joined Islamic State forces in conflict zones.

At least 25 of them have known to have been killed over there while 25 have returned to Spain and 13 of those have been arrested and are currently in custody.

Story continues below…

Since the start of 2015, 48 suspected jihadists have been arrested in Spain, said the interior ministry on Tuesday.



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

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
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
jobs available