Anti-terrorist police in Spain have arrested eight suspected members of a religious jihadist cell who are believed to have recruited other people, allegedly inciting them to fight in Syria and Iraq.
The anti-terrorist operation, led by officers from Spain’s national police service in collaboration with the Catalanian regional police, took place in several cities across the country: Barcelona, Avila, Ciudad Rea and Girona.
Spain has arrested more than 20 suspected militants since September. On Tuesday the country’s interior ministry said it dismantled a militant cell in Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta that it claims was ready to attack targets in Europe.
Police arrested two suspected militants as part of a wider security operation that began in January, the ministry said.
“The cell neutralised today, as opposed to others dismantled, doesn’t follow the same pattern of radicalisation, recruitment and sending of activists to organised jihadist organisations in conflict zones,” the ministry said in a statement.
“This group was clearly operational and consisted of individuals who were already radicalised and prepared for a possible attack, in our own country or those nearby.”
The two male suspects in Ceuta, on the Moroccan coast, included a Spanish and Moroccan national and were arrested as part of the same police investigation that led to the arrest of four people in January, the ministry said.