Suspected Spanish Isis recruiter arrested in Belgium

Belgian police arrested a Spanish man suspected of recruiting for the Islamic State group and planning attacks in Belgium, in a raid near Brussels airport on Wednesday, officials said.

Suspected Spanish Isis recruiter arrested in Belgium
File image of Police officials stand alert on a street outside Gare Centrale in Brussels on June 20th 2017 after an explosion in the Belgian capital. Photo: AFP

Officers, acting on a request from Madrid, swooped on the man's home in the city's Zavantem district, Belgian prosecutors said.

The Zavantem airport was targeted by a deadly Isis-claimed double suicide bombing last year.

The 26-year-old Spaniard, who has not been named, is suspected of leading a network of “recruitment and indoctrination from his home and in Brussels cafes”, Spanish police said in a statement.

Unable to travel to Iraq or Syria with his brother to join the ranks of Isis fighters, the suspect planned “terrorist acts in Europe, particularly in Belgium”, Spanish police said, adding that “specific targets” had been identified, including locations, buildings and groups of people.

He is also accused of showing other members of the cell “videos of suicide bombings, executions, death sentences and calls for terrorist attacks in Europe,” the statement said.

Belgian police held the man under a European arrest warrant issued by a judge in Spain who has been investigating the cell for several years.

Four other members of the cell are already behind bars, three in Spain and one in Morocco.

The Belgian federal prosecutor said the suspect would be extradited to Spain, as he was not currently wanted by the authorities in Belgium.

READ ALSO: Who are Spain's jihadists? 


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.