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Mexican woman arrested in Madrid on terrorism charges

The detainee is said to be a “very important” figure in radical circles in her home country

A 38-year-old Mexican woman born in the city of Monterrey has been arrested in the Madrid municipality of Pinto for allegedly calling on jihadists to participate in terrorist attacks. The woman, whose husband is currently in prison after being arrested in May 2016 for suspected participation in a jihadist recruitment ring, is a strict Muslim and always wears a niqab, and only moves in very limited Islamic social circles, according to Spain’s Civil Guard.

A Civil Guard officer during an anti-terrorist operation in the Canary Islands on January 17.
A Civil Guard officer during an anti-terrorist operation in the Canary Islands on January 17. EFE

Spanish authorities have accused the woman of glorifying terrorism and believe she was a part of a “stable structure” dedicated to the diffusion of extremely violent jihadist propaganda “using a range of online platforms and instant-messaging services,” Spain’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The detainee had already converted to Islam in 2010 before moving move to Spain, according to the Civil Guard. On her arrival in this country, she married a Muslim and began to spread radical messages.

“She managed to become one of the most important figures among women in the Islamic community in the country of her birth,” sources say, promoting female jihadism and sharing propaganda material with a wide range of contacts.

In its statement, the Civil Guard once again underlined the growing importance of women in the propaganda apparatus of jihadist groups, especially so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

“They have gone beyond just being the wives and mothers of combatants to taking on an active role in the spreading of the jihadist message and the recruitment of new followers,” the force said.

Spain is currently on terror alert level four, the highest since the 11-M train bombings at Atocha station in 2004. The alert was raised in June 2015 in the wake of attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait, and means increased monitoring of critical infrastructure such as airports, nuclear power plants and travel hubs. In addition, all security forces dedicated to terrorism prevention, investigation and information collection have been put on alert.

English version by George Mills.

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