MADRID – A coordinated police operation has led to the arrest of three people in Spain and one in Morocco suspected of belonging to and inciting acts of terrorism on behalf of the Islamic State terror organization, the Spanish interior ministry said on Tuesday.
One person was arrested in a suburb of the Spanish capital Madrid, two brothers were detained near Girona, a city in the Catalonia region of Spain, while a fourth, who was wanted by police forces in several countries for his deep integration in the IS propaganda machine, was apprehended in the Moroccan coastal city of Tangiers.
“The detained, who spread extremist material online and directly incited terror attacks in Spain, were key objectives in the fight against terror,” a statement from the ministry said, adding that all the suspects allegedly used social media to spread IS propaganda.
In fact, the suspect arrested in Morocco is thought to have maintained more than 300 social media profiles to work intimately with IS propaganda by elaborating dossiers, providing links to violent content and relaying information in real time aimed at recruiting large numbers of people online.
The brothers, both in their early 30s and of Moroccan origin, are also suspected of maintaining a complex web of communication that they used to spread IS content through social media, e-mails and instant messaging services.
They were arrested in the town of Figueres, just north of Girona.
Meanwhile, police conducting a raid in the Parla suburb of south Madrid detained a man described as dangerously radicalized.
The 44-year-old Spanish citizen of Moroccan heritage, who had links to the brothers in Girona, did not employ the same measures as the other detainees to hide his online activity but rather openly incited attacks and glorified an ideology of martyrdom.
Over 200 people with suspected terror links have been arrested in Spain since the country raised its national alert to its second highest level.