Spain Arrests Four With Suspected Links to Islamic Terrorists

MADRID (Reuters) -
Spanish police prepare to enter a building during an operation in Spain's northern African enclave of Ceuta, in this still image from video released February 23, 2016. Spanish and Moroccan police arrested four people accused of recruiting potential militants to fight in Syria and Iraq or to carry out attacks in Spain or Morocco, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday. Three Spaniards were detained in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in northern Africa and one Moroccan in Nador, Morocco, as part of a joint operation between the two countries, the ministry said. REUTERS/Policia Nacional - Ministerio del Interior/Handout via Reuters TV ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Spanish police prepare to enter a building during an operation in Spain’s northern African enclave of Ceuta, in this still image from video released on Tuesday. (Reuters/Policia Nacional – Ministerio del Interior/Handout)

Spanish and Moroccan police arrested four people accused of recruiting potential terrorists to fight in Syria and Iraq or to carry out attacks in Spain or Morocco, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.

Three Spaniards were detained in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in northern Africa and one Moroccan in Nador, Morocco, as part of a joint operation between the two countries, the ministry said.

Including the arrests on Tuesday, Spain has detained 12 people with suspected links to Islamic terrorists thus far in 2016.

In 2015, Spain arrested 102 people accused of connections to the Islamic State, more than twice that in the previous year as police stepped up security measures after the terror attacks in Paris.

Authorities also arrested nine people accused of belonging to and collaborating with a criminal and terrorist organization due to connections with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Ceuta is one of two Spanish territories on the Moroccan coast – the other is Melilla – and has been a focus of Spanish anti-terror investigations. In March 2015 Spain said it had dismantled a Islamist terror cell in the enclave that it said was ready to attack either Spain or other targets in Europe.