Photo: Spanish police
Police have dismantled a ring in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla that recruited and sent jihadist terrorists to Mali and Libya, arresting six people thus far in the ongoing operation.
The detainees include the “first Spanish jihadist” to have returned from the conflict in Mali, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry, which said the suspect passed through training camps run by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa in that country.
The six detainees were taken to the airport in Melilla for transfer to Madrid, where they will be turned over to judicial authorities.
Spanish National Police and Civil Guard agents carried out the operation early Friday in Melilla, a Spanish city bordering Morocco.
Sources close to the investigation told Efe that police conducted eight raids in Muslim-majority neighborhoods on the city’s outskirts.
Spanish and Moroccan police dealt a severe blow in March to Spain’s most active jihadist cell, which was tasked with recruiting volunteers for terrorist groups linked to Al Qaeda, especially those based in conflict-ridden countries such as Mali and Syria.
Seven people were arrested in that operation, three of them in Melilla, including suspected ringleader Mustafa Maya Amaya.
After the latest arrests in Melilla, Spain’s secretary of state for security, Francisco Martinez, said “today Spain and the entire European Union” are more secure from the threat of radical Islam.
“It’s prudent to wait because some more arrests or raids may still be forthcoming,” he said.