Spain Arrests 15 on Terror Charges
Spanish Police Arrest 15 on Suspicion of Recruiting Fighters for Iraq Insurgency
By HAROLD HECKLE
The Associated Press
MADRID, Spain - Spanish police arrested 15 people Monday on suspicion of recruiting and indoctrinating fighters for Iraq's insurgency, officials said.
The cell was in close contact with al-Qaida members in Iraq and had two people ready to be sent there to wage "holy war," Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso told a news conference.
The arrests stemmed from a probe that began in January and the cell sent "several" people to fight in Iraq, the minister said without giving a precise figure.
More than 100 police officers staged raids that led to the arrests in the regions of Catalonia and Andalusia as well as in Spain's Balaeric Islands, he said.
Police agents specializing in Islamic terrorism, explosives or scientific investigation made the arrests in the cities of Lerida, Malaga, Nerja, Seville and Palma on the island of Mallorca.
Alonso did not give the nationality of the suspects, although the news agency Efe said they included Moroccans, Ethiopians, a person from Ghana and one Spaniard.
Monday's arrests marked the fourth time in less than a month that Spanish police have arrested people suspected of Islamic extremist activities.
In a series of arrests beginning in late November, 19 people were arrested on suspicion of belonging to or collaborating with the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, an Algerian-based extremist group that has declared allegiance to al-Qaida.
Seven were jailed on preliminary charges of belonging to a terror cell, one still has to go before a judge and the others were released.
Spain has arrested nearly 200 Islamic terror suspects since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, which investigators say were planned in part in Spain.
About half of them were arrested in connection with the Madrid train bombings of last year, in which 191 people were killed and more than 1,500 wounded. Of these suspects, 26 have been jailed, although dozens more who were questioned and released are still considered suspects.
Spanish Police Arrest Terrorist Recruiters
|By Gil Carbajal
19 December 2005
Spanish police have arrested at least 15 people suspected of recruiting fighters to send to Iraq to participate in the insurgency. Spanish police have made several arrests during the past month of people suspected of extremist activities.
Spanish Interior Minister Josť Luis Alonso said the terrorist network was directed by a well-organized central cell.
The minister said the cell recruited, trained and indoctrinated young volunteers to fight in Iraq or to carry out terrorist attacks.
Mr. Alonso said that the cell was in continual Internet contact with al-Qaida groups in other countries, including Iraq, and had two men ready to be sent there to help the insurgents.
He said there were no indications the group was preparing a terrorist attack in Spain.
Most of the arrests were carried out in predawn raids in the northeastern city of Lerida, Palma de Mallorca, and in the southern cities of Nerja, Malaga, Santiponce, and Seville. Components used in the fabrication of explosives were seized in the raids.
The nationalities of those arrested included Moroccan, Algerian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Ethiopian and Ghanian. At least one suspect is reportedly a Spanish citizen.
Spanish authorities have arrested more than 80 people suspected of collaborating with al-Qaida since the Madrid train bombings last year killed 191 people.
Seven were in arrested in Malaga on December 9, suspected of belonging to an al-Qaida-linked Algerian organization, known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. And, 11 people were arrested in the latter part of November. Some of them were accused of trying to trade drugs for explosives
14 suspected militants held in Spain
December 19, 2005 12:21