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Jihadi suspects arrested in Barcelona over links to Brussels attack

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Jihadi suspects arrested in Barcelona over links to Brussels attack
Archive photo of an arrest in 2015. Photo: AFP
12:12 CEST+02:00
Catalan police have arrested eight people including suspected members of a jihadi group linked to last year's suicide bomb attacks in Brussels' airport and subway.

Dawn raids took place at 12 properties in and around Barcelona on Tuesday, in an operation that began eight-months ago, said the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police force, in a statement.

Four of those arrested are suspected of being directly linked to the terrorist attacks carried out last year in Brussels at the city's airport and on the metro system.

It is not clear if the four were directly involved in carrying out the Brussels attacks, the spokesman added.

Four others were also detained over alleged links to jihadist organizations as well as organized crime activity.

Police said the suspects were Moroccans residents in Catalonia and aged between 31 and 39.

Belgium has been on high alert since March 22 last year when suicide bombers attacked Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station, killing 32 people and leaving more than 320 wounded.

The attacks were led by an Islamic State cell that was also responsible for the carnage in Paris in November 2015.   

The men arrested in Catalonia "may have participated or cooperated in past actions" and may have travelled to Belgium, Catalonia's regional interior minister Jordi Jane told radio Rac1.

Some of the suspects are linked to organised crime groups and drug trafficking, he added.The latest arrests mean that more than 200 arrests for suspected jihadi activities have been made since Spain raised its national security alert to one step below maximum  following attacks in France and elsewhere in 2015.

 

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