A 21-year old Moroccan man resident in Algeciras was arrested by Spanish police yesterday for his alleged involvement in recruiting members of the so-called Islamic State.
The man, identified only by the initials A.M.R.R, was arrested in Vitoria, in northern Spain, by specialist officers from Spain’s Policia Nacional.
“The man allegedly belonged to the terrorist organisation Daesh [also known as Islamic State] and is believed to have carried out recruitment and indoctrination,” Spain Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Spanish officers searched residential properties in Algeciras and Vitoria, as well as in a cybercafé in Algeciras that the man used to frequent.
“The arrested man was known for his involvement in circles with radical, jihadist ideology in Algeciras, where he normally resided,” the statement said.
“He had undergone a drastic change in lifestyle and his statements, leaning toward extremist Salafist stances, to the point that he used social media to argue in favour of violent actions carried out terrorist organisations, especially Daesh.”
According to the Interior Ministry, A.M.R.R made contact at the end of 2017 with another individual with whom he met in Morocco and on social media and other online platforms.
That man, who was arrested in Morocco at the end of 2017, was planning terrorist attacks, the statement said.
A.M.R.R is alleged to have used propaganda material about Daesh to incite the other man to commit terrorist atrocities.
According to police, he took steps to protect his security including the use of encrypted instant messaging apps and different phone numbers.
“Cooperation between Spain and Morocco, together with the permanent alert in both countries to prevent, detect and neutralise potential terrorist suspects, has proved fruitful in operations that allow this type of threat to be dismantled on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar,” the Spanish Interior Ministry said.
There was no suggestion yesterday of any connection to Gibraltar arising from this arrest, but the Royal Gibraltar Police liaises closely with law enforcement agencies in both Spain and Morocco as a matter of routine on counter-terrorism issues.
Photo: Erasmo Fenoy (courtesy of Europa Sur)