Spain arrests 10 over alleged Islamic State links

  • AFP, Madrid
  • Updated: Apr 08, 2015 19:16 IST

Spanish police arrested 10 people in the Catalonia region on Wednesday suspected of links to the Islamic State group, authorities said, the latest such raids as European nations seek to stop jihadist recruitment.

The operation included raids in the Barcelona and Tarragona areas and those arrested are suspected of crimes "linked to jihadist terrorism, particularly to the Islamic State group," police said in a statement.

Authorities in Europe are seeking to stop young people travelling to Iraq and Syria to fight with the violent extremist group.

Authorities in Spain have raided a number of alleged recruitment cells, most of them in the country's North African territories of Ceuta and Melilla as well as a number in Catalonia.

On April 1, a Moroccan living in Catalonia was remanded in custody after allegedly seeking to send her 16-year-old twins to fight with jihadists in Syria, a year after another of her sons died in that country.

"It would be outrageous to say that mosques in Catalonia are preaching this" radical message, Catalonia's regional interior minister Ramon Espadaler said on Wednesday, however.

"There are some places that pose a problem and we are monitoring them."

Spanish authorities say about 100 people from Spain are suspected of having joined jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria, and fear they may return to launch attacks.

Last month, Spanish authorities arrested eight suspected members of a jihadist network who allegedly called for attacks in Spain and tried to recruit for the Islamic State group.

Scores of alleged Islamists facing terrorism charges are being held in Spain, sources say.

Hundreds more such radicals from France, Britain and Germany are also thought to have travelled to those countries to fight.

Espadaler said there were links between Wednesday's raids and two other arrests made at the Bulgarian-Turkish border in December.

Police operations were ongoing and more arrests were possible, he told Catalan radio station Rac1 on Wednesday morning.

"The jihadist phenomenon is a reality," Espadaler said.

"It exists in our country, in our neighbouring European countries and worldwide, but we also have police capable of detecting radicalisation and of fighting this phenomenon."

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