Results tagged “Spain”
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Authorities raised the security threat level to three on a scale of four after suspicious packages were delivered to the offices of several Spanish media organizations. Offices were evacuated and the packages were examined before workers were allowed back into the buildings. The US is seeking to station an elite Marine group permanently at an air base in Andalusia for rapid-response missions in Africa.
During raids in Barcelona, Ceuta, Melilla, and the Moroccan municipality of Castillejos, Spanish and Moroccan police arrested seven people, including four women and a minor, suspected of links to an lslamic State recruitment network that sent women to Iraq and Syria. Two of the female suspects were allegedly about to join the Islamic State. Authorities estimate that some 100 Spaniards have joined the Islamic State and that as many as 2,000 Moroccans have traveled to Iraq or Syria for jihad.
A High Court prosecution of 15 members of an Islamic State recruiting group in Madrid revealed that it was headed by former Guantanamo detainee Lahcen Ikassrien, who used Madrid's largest mosque as a recruitment center. The group, which called itself the Al Andalus Brigade, also operated a jihadist training camp on property it owned in Ávila. A High Court investigation last month disclosed that a Ceuta-based recruiting network headed by Yassin Ahmed Laarbi had sent 14 fighters to the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State in Syria; the network had also planned attacks in Spain.
A court remanded in custody Mohamed Said Mohamed, thought to be the leader of an Islamic State recruiting cell based in Melilla and in the Moroccan city of Nador. Spanish and Moroccan authorities arrested nine members of the cell, all Moroccan except for the leader, a Spaniard, in raids on Sept. 26. Spain has conducted 20 such operations since 2011, and is working closely with Moroccan authorities, who have said that as many as 2,000 Moroccans are fighting with the Islamic State.
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.
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.