Spain police hold 11 after passengers flee emergency landing

Spanish police had on Saturday rounded up 11 people who fled a plane following an emergency landing that prompted Mallorca to close its airport, in what appeared to be an elaborate scheme by would-be migrants.

A picture of Mallorca airport from August, 2021.
A picture of Mallorca airport from August, 2021. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

At least nine people are believed to be at large after the flight from Morocco to Turkey landed at Palma de Mallorca airport, one of Spain’s busiest, on Friday evening.

“So far, 11 people have been found by the police and civil guard officers,” said a spokeswoman for the government delegation on the islands said.

“A passenger apparently suffered a diabetic coma and was taken by ambulance to hospital with a companion,” a police statement said early on Saturday.

“As the evacuation was taking place, around 20 passengers ran out onto the runway.”

Police and civil guard officers immediately began searching for the escapees, paralysing activity at the airport which only resumed activity at
around midnight, Spain’s AENA airport authority said.

Meanwhile at the hospital, the allegedly ill passenger was found to be in perfect health and discharged, with police arresting him for “facilitating
illegal immigration”.

His companion was nowhere to be found, they said.

According to aircraft tracker FlightRadar24, the plane was an Air Arabia Maroc Airbus A320 flying between Casablanca and Istanbul.

During the incident, 13 planes bound for Palma were rerouted to other airports, and 16 departing flights suffered significant delays, AENA said.

SEE ALSO: Spain criticised for repatriating hundreds of Moroccan minors after migration crisis

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Spain arrests 11 suspected jihadists in Melilla and Granada

Moroccan and Spanish police have dismantled a jihadist cell suspected of links to the Islamic State group, officials said Tuesday.

Spain arrests 11 suspected jihadists in Melilla and Granada

The operation led to the arrest of 11 people in raids on Tuesday morning: nine in the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Morocco’s northern coast, and another two in the nearby town of Nador, according to a Moroccan police statement.

Spanish security sources said 10 people had been arrested in Melilla and another in the southern Spanish city of Granada.

The Moroccan police said the two suspects held in Nador, aged 34 and 39, were remanded in custody and that mobile phones and a computer had been seized.

The detainees were suspected of “promoting extremist ideology” online “in order to recruit people in terrorist organisations”, the same source said.

Morocco and Spain officially revived their security cooperation in April after mending fences following a year-long diplomatic row over the Western Sahara.

The Moroccan police regularly announce operations against jihadist cells, and reports having arrested more than 3,500 people in relation to “terrorism” since 2002.