Spanish police today announced the arrests in Barcelona and Madrid of five alleged jihadists, including the alleged leader who recruited the others from a group of young criminals, as they sought to buy a Kalashnikov machine gun.
In a statement, it is stated that the operation was carried out by the General Information Commission of the National Police and the Provincial Information Brigade of Barcelona, led by the National Audience, and with the collaboration of several international secret agencies, such as the FBI, Europol and the services of Algeria’s security.
Four of the five “presumed jihadists” were arrested in Barcelona between January and March and the fifth in Madrid in recent days.
This is the second part of the “Operation Arbac”, developed last January and in which three alleged jihadists were arrested, one of them a supposed “returner” of the Algerian extremist group Islamic State (EI), which fought in the Syrian-Iraqi conflict, as well as two other compatriots.
During the investigation, it was found that the detainees had the help of another person who coordinated, from Algeria, the security measures of the new arrivals in Spain so as not to be detected by the local secret services.
According to the statement, the “coordinator” was identified in the group as Sheikh (Sheikh).
When the three alleged jihadists were arrested, attention turned to the alleged boss and, in late March, your entry into Spain was detected, where he settled in Barcelona.
Subsequent investigation has identified him and verified his connection to ISIS since 2016, when he was arrested in Turkey trying to enter a conflict zone to join the extremist group.
After being set free, Sheikh toured several countries ands such as Malaysia, Tanzania and Algeria, where it continued to recruit young people into the organization.
In Barcelona, he surrounded himself with a group of young Algerian criminals who were dedicated in an organized way to assaulting tourists.
Since ‘Sheikh’ arrived in Barcelona, it was found that several of the recruited youngsters had “high signs of radicalization”.
The Spanish police decided to arrest them after detecting that one of the members of the group was looking to buy a ‘Kalashnikov’ machine gun.
At the residence of the leader of the terrorist cell, the police found three machetes (with 60, 57 and 51 centimeters) and about 70 ammunition.
Four of the detainees appeared today before a judge at the Audiencia Nacional (a court based in Madrid and with jurisdiction throughout Spain), who ordered their detention. The fifth element will be presented to the judge in the coming days.
The five are accused of belonging to a terrorist organization and of self-indoctrination. The alleged leader of the group is also accused of a crime of active self-indoctrination.