Spain: Seven arrested for ‘supplying weapons to ISIS’ disguised as humanitarian aid
Police confirmed they had broken up a terror cell linked to ISIS and Al-Qaeda sprawling across three cities.
Six men were held in custody after dawn raids in Alicante, Valencia and Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta, followed by a seventh person later in the morning.
Spain’s acting interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the individuals were believed to be part of a jihadist network that sent arms in shipping containers – disguised as humanitarian aid.
Four of those arrested were Spanish nationals of Syrian, Jordanian and Moroccan origin, a police statement confirmed.
The arrests were made as part of an ongoing anti-terror investigation launched in 2014 into “foreign structures” of ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, police said.
Spanish police said a Syrian and Moroccan were also taken into custody.
The nationality of the seventh man arrested has not yet been confirmed. The operation is still ongoing.
A spokesman for Spain’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “The head of the cell directed a network of firms which enabled him to send the logistical material in sealed containers from Spanish ports to the terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq without raising suspicion.
“These regular supplies directly benefited the continuity and strengthening of terrorist structures in Syria and Iraq.”
The leader of the jihadi network was in “constant” contact with a member of ISIS, who repeatedly asked him to recruit women that would be married off to jihadists in Syria, police said.
The suspects have been taken to Madrid for a private court hearing where a judge is expected to decide to remand them in custody.
A total of 82 suspected jihadists have been detained in Spain since the beginning of 2015.
European authorities have increased the number of raids against suspected terrorists since the terror attacks committed in Paris in 2015.
Last year three Moroccans suspected of plotting a Charlie Hebdo-style terror attack were arrested during raids in Madrid.
Four men were also arrested in Ceuta shortly after the terrorist attack on the satirical French magazine in January 2015.