An alleged jihadi terrorist, of Moroccan nationality and resident in Spain was arrested on Monday in San Sebastián (Guipuzcoa).
The suspect — whose name was not released — is accused of heading up a cell to recruit and send foreign fighters on to Turkey, where they would receive further instructions from the terrorist group Islamic State (DAESH) to subsequently organize attacks in Europe.
The detainee was found to be part of the operational structure of DAESH, and had been carrying out tasks to recruit and indoctrinate potential members since 2010, both at a personal level and over the Internet. His militancy was expressly substantiated on social networks, where he “called on Muslims to Jihad” and reiterated the “need to join up to the terrorist group”, urging them to travel to conflict zones, according to the Spanish government.
The individual arrested on Monday in San Sebastian was very active in trying to recruit new members and had no qualms about approaching young people at risk of social exclusion who were easily influenced and emotionally unstable, taking advantage furthermore of his work as a boxing instructor to gain their trust, the government said.
The leader of the cell was commissioned with the work of recruitment, indoctrination and sending foreign fighters on to Turkey where they would receive precise instructions on the foreign network of DAESH to undertake attacks in Europe. The detainee began to share a flat with another of the members of the group who, until that time, had not shown any sign of radical conduct but who, after five months of flat-sharing, began to publish content linked to DAESH on social networks, thus commencing a period of indoctrination under the instruction of the detainee.
In his last phase of radicalisation, this second member of the group stopped attending classes and limited his social relations to the detainee, who gave him instructions to travel from Guipuzcoa to Turkey, sending him money for his stay in the country. Finally, the latter member, after a warrant was issued by Spain, was arrested in Morocco, where he declared that he had received a pen drive from the terrorist group DAESH with various instructions.
The danger and importance of the individual arrested on Monday in San Sebastian within the structure of DAESH was clearly substantiated after establishing his connection with a third member of the cell, arrested on 20 November 2016 in Strasbourg by the French authorities.
The investigators found evidence that the three members of the terrorist group had coincided during the same period of time in San Sebastian (Guipuzcoa) and that they had provided each other with economic support.
The strategy of the General Commissariat of Intelligence of the National Police is framed along the lines of neutralising the threats recently announced by DAESH, consisting of stepping up actions in Europe through cells or lone wolves, particularly, those who had come back from the Jihadist conflict.
The operation was carried out in collaboration with the National Intelligence Centre (Spanish acronym: CNI) and the Directorate-General of Territorial Surveillance (DGST) of Morocco, which is yet another demonstration of the excellent level of cooperation at a national and international level between the two countries, as a key element in the fight against the main threat to security: Jihadi terrorism.
The operation was carried out under the supervision of Central Investigation Court Number 5 of the National High Court and under the coordination of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the National High Court.
Since 2015, the year in which the Ministry of Home Affairs raised the Counter-Terrorism Alert Level to level 4 (Spanish acronym: NAA-4), the law enforcement agencies have arrested a total of 181 Jihadist terrorists.