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The Islamic State's global reach




Morocco, Spain combat terror threat




Spanish security forces say that Mohamed Almedi Khalou, a former Moroccan army officer, is now leading some 1,200 Moroccans who have joined Islamic State forces in Syria in a group called the Harakat al Sham, or Sham al Islam. Khalou reportedly replaced Brahim Benchekroun, a former Guantanamo detainee who was killed in Syria in April. Prior to his death, Benchekroun had begun planning attacks in Morocco. At least 35 Spaniards are estimated to have joined the ranks of rebel fighters in Syria, and most are thought to have joined the Islamic State.




Spanish authorities arrested two Spanish girls, one 19 years old and the other 14, as they tried to cross over from Melilla into Morocco to join a cell of the Islamic State. The Interior Ministry said the girls' "radicalization, recruitment and later dispatch ... were perfectly planned ... by a network that operates across north Africa and has as its main goal getting the maximum number of unquestioning combatants." Spain has arrested over 470 suspected Islamic extremists since the Madrid train bombings in 2004.




UK extremists linked to Qatar World Cup bid




ISIS militants outline chilling 5-year plan for global domination




Jihadist returnees stir concern in the Maghreb




Ex-Guantanamo detainee arrested in Spain tied to infamous al Qaeda cell

Lahcen Ikassrien, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, was arrested earlier this month in Spain. Leaked State Department cables and a threat assessment authored by Joint Task Force Guantanamo link Ikassrien to an al Qaeda cell run by one of Osama bin Laden's most trusted operatives in pre-9/11 Europe.


Spanish authorities arrested nine members of a jihadist cell in Madrid yesterday that recruited fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham in Syria and Iraq. The cell is led by Moroccan national Lahcen Ikassrien, 47, a former Guantanamo detainee who was handed over in 2005 to Spain, where he was released after being acquitted of cooperating with al Qaeda. Ikassrien belonged to a network run by Abu Dah Dah a.k.a. Imad Eddin Barakat, one of the founders of al Qaeda in Spain. Other members of the recruiting cell included Denis Ibryam Redhed., a Bulgarian; César Raúl Rodríguez, an Argentinian; Mohamed Khaloukh Darouani; Abdeslam El Haddouti; Oiane Chergui; Zayyad Younes; Mohamed Nabil Benazzou Benhaddou; and Bouyakhlef. Authorities are also seeking a brother of deceased terrorist Mohamed Al Falah who recently left for Syria; and arrested K.J.C.L., an Angolan national from Morocco, in Huelva, on suspicion of spreading jihadist propaganda on Urdu forums in Afghanistan and Pakistan.




In Europe, no plans for military involvement in Iraq




Analysis: Blowback from the Syrian jihad has begun

In well over a dozen countries, evidence has emerged that jihadists who trained or fought in Syria are engaging in terrorist activities in their home countries and elsewhere.


Security forces in Melilla arrested six jihadists involved in a network that sends fighters to al Qaeda camps in Syria, Mali, and Libya. Cell leader Benaissa Laghmouchi Baghdadi, 42, who had spent eight months in Syria, has ties to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) in Mali. Some of the six suspects are also linked to Sharia4Spain, a branch of a global Internet-based jihadist network, which recruits fighters for Syria and Mali.




Belgium, Allies Try to Halt Flow of Young Islamist Fighters to Syria




Spanish security forces, working with French police, arrested Abdelmalek Tanem, an Algerian national who also has French citizenship, in Almeria on April 30. He had recently returned from Syria, where he worked as a facilitator along the Turkish border, integrating European jihadists into the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Authorities arrested 21 people in six regions for lauding terrorist groups such as ETA and Islamist extremists, urging additional attacks, and mocking victims on social networking sites.




Authorities arrested four people in Barcelona, Tarragona, and Palma de Mallorca who are suspected of trying to sell missile equipment to Iran. Three are Spanish nationals from the same family, and the fourth is an Iranian. During the raids, authorities confiscated cash, industrial equipment, and documents relating to defense information.




Foreign jihadists recruit Maghreb youth




In a joint operation, Spanish and Moroccan authorities targeting an al Qaeda recruiting network arrested four suspected members in Spain and three in Morocco. The network, whose activities extend to Morocco, Belgium, France, Tunisia, Turkey, Libya, Mali, Indonesia, and Syria, is headed by Melilla resident Mustafa Maya Amaya, who funneled recruits to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, the Al Nusrah Front, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Among those detained is Chafik Jalel Ben Amara Elmedjeri, a Tunisian arrested on terrorism charges in 2006.




US military boosting its presence in Spain




Spain on Islamist alert, decade after train bombings




US military presence in Africa growing in small ways


 
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