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CRIME

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
Morocco and Spain officially revived their security cooperation in April after mending fences following a year-long diplomatic row over the Western Sahara. Screenshot: Spanish National Police/Europol

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.

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EXTREMISM

Spain to repatriate women and children of IS fighters from Syria

Spain has decided to repatriate several Spanish wives and children of Islamic State fighters from jihadist detention camps in Syria, the government said Monday.

Spain to repatriate women and children of IS fighters from Syria

The return of relatives of captured or killed jihadist fighters from Syria and Iraq has been a thorny issue for European countries since the fall of the Islamic State group’s so-called “caliphate” in 2019.

Thousands of extremists in Europe decided to join the group as fighters, often taking their wives and children to live in the “caliphate” declared in territory conquered in Iraq and Syria.

Spain plans to repatriate three women and 13 children before the end of the year, a government source told AFP, confirming a report in top-selling Spanish daily El País.

One of the women is married to an Islamic State fighter and the other two are widows of jihadist fighters.

Previously, Spain has refused to repatriate such family members of jihadist fighters.

The women face charges of cooperating with a terrorist organization for allegedly aiding the Islamic State group. If convicted, they face jail terms of up to five years.

The women have been in the detention camps since 2019. They say they were tricked by their husbands to go to Syria and did not take part in any jihadist activities, according to El País.

Spain has also agreed to repatriate a Moroccan woman who is the widow of a Spanish fighter and the couple’s three children, but they fled from a detention camp near Iraq in 2020 and their whereabouts is unknown.

France, Germany and the Netherlands are among the other European nations which have repatriated relatives of jihadist fighters this year or announced plans to do so.

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