Spain on alert for suspected Belgian terrorist returned from Syria

Spanish authorities have issued an appeal for 23-year-old Soufiane Mezroui, who is thought to have entered Spain after a stint fighting in Syria.

Spain on alert for suspected Belgian terrorist returned from Syria
Photo: Guardia Civil / Ministerio Interior

Police have issued a nationwide alert for Mezroui, who was born in Belgium and has links to the Salafist jihadist organization Jabhat al-Nusra.

Spanish police were told on Friday that the suspect, who is wanted on European arrest warrant issued in Abril 2013, may be hiding out in Spain.

Mezroui from Kapelle, near Antwerp, is reported to have been sentenced in abstencia in an Antwerp court in February to five years in prison for being linked to terrorist group.

The police alert did not say whether he was suspected of being involved in the Paris attacks of November 13th in which 129 people were killed but said that “his presence in Spain could pose a threat to national security”.

Europe's most-wanted man Salah Abdeslam remained on the run on Monday despite a wave of overnight raids in Brussels aimed at tracking down the key suspect in the Paris attacks.

Photo: Appeal issued by France's Police Nationale

Belgian police arrested 16 people in a wave of anti-terrorism raids but key Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam slipped the net, with Brussels set to remain under security lockdown on Monday.

READ: all the latest news on Paris attacks


Arms trafficker held in Malaga to be extradited to France

A suspected French arms trafficker who was arrested in Malaga last week will be extradited to France in 10 days, a Spanish court said on Monday.

Arms trafficker held in Malaga to be extradited to France

Antoine Denevi, wanted on a Europe-wide arrest warrant for membership in a criminal group and arms and explosives trafficking, has agreed to face justice in France, the National Court said in a ruling.

“The extradition will be carried out within 10 days of this ruling,” it added.

Denevi, 26, is wanted by France for crimes he allegedly committed in 2014, the court said.

Spanish police detained him on Tuesday in the southern province of Malaga where he lived and where they suspect he continued to sell arms.   

They said Denevi may have supplied “arms and war munitions” to Amedy Coulibaly, who in January 2015 shot dead a policewoman in Paris and took hostages in a Jewish supermarket, where he killed four people.

But prosecutors in the northern French city of Lille – where Denevi is being investigated for arms trafficking – swiftly denied a direct link with the Paris attacks.

The French investigation is being carried out by a regular criminal court, instead of a court that specialises in terrorism cases, which shows the lack of direct ties between Denevi and Coulibaly, sources close to the investigation told AFP.