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Eight arrests in latest operation against jihadist cells

Suspects were using the internet to encourge attacks and recruit combatants for Syria, Iraq

One of the individuals arrested on Friday in L'Hospitalet (Barcelona).
One of the individuals arrested on Friday in L'Hospitalet (Barcelona).

Spain’s National Police arrested eight people in the early hours of Friday in a raid against a jihadist cell that was using the internet to encourage terrorist attacks and recruit combatants for Syria and Iraq.

The arrests took place simultaneously in the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Ciudad Real and Ávila, according to the Interior Ministry. The detainees all have Spanish citizenship, although five hail originally from Morocco.

Home searches yielded a wealth of jihadist propaganda material, as well as two shotguns.

Police sources said that the suspects have similar backgrounds to those of jihadists who have been recently arrested in anti-terrorism raids in other countries. Last week, Spanish police detained two individuals in Ceuta who had been allegedly planning new attacks in Spain and Europe.

The current operation remains underway, and is the result of a partnership between Spanish law enforcement and Morocco’s security department and secret services. Both countries are working together closely against Islamist terrorism.

The operation was launched by Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez of the High Court, Spain’s central criminal tribunal. Legal sources said the raid is preventive in nature, and was ordered on the basis of evidence suggesting ties between the suspects and the Islamic State.

This is the third police operation against jihadism in Spain so far this year.