Skip to main content

Eight suspected Islamic militants arrested in Spain

By Al Goodman, CNN
updated 6:59 AM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
Spanish security forces escort an arrested suspected member of a jihadist cell onto a military aircraft in Melilla on May 30, 2014.
Spanish security forces escort an arrested suspected member of a jihadist cell onto a military aircraft in Melilla on May 30, 2014.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • They're accused of recruiting, sending fighters to aid the ISIS terrorist group
  • The cell's suspected leader had been a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ministry says
  • The arrests come just ahead of the proclamation of Spain's new King Felipe VI on Thursday
  • This week, thousands of police and security forces will be on alert during coronation festivities

Madrid (CNN) -- Spanish police arrested eight suspected Islamic militants in Madrid in predawn raids Monday, for allegedly recruiting and sending radical fighters to aid the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The arrests come just ahead of the proclamation of Spain's new King Felipe VI on Thursday in parliament, and the ministry last week raised the terror alert level from 2 to 3, to tighten security in the capital during the festivities.

The suspected leader of the cell broken up Monday had been detained in Afghanistan in 2001 and later was a prisoner at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the ministry said.

Just last month, police arrested six Spanish men in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, on Morocco's north coast, on suspicion of recruiting and sending 26 radical Islamic fighters for terrorist groups in Syria, Mali and Libya.

Spain arrests 6 suspected terrorists

Also in Melilla, last March, a Spaniard and two Frenchmen were arrested on similar charges.

The movement of Islamic militants from Europe and North Africa to conflict zones such as Syria, Mali and Libya -- and their eventual return to Spain to potentially carry out terrorist attacks -- has been a prime concern for authorities battling terrorism.

This week, thousands of police and security forces will be on alert throughout Madrid; King Juan Carlos, 76, Spain's head of state and commander in chief, formalizes his abdication Wednesday, leading to the proclamation of his son, Crown Prince Felipe, 46, as the new King, in a nation where the elected government runs the country.

The new King and his wife, Princess Letizia, who will become queen of Spain, are due to ride through the streets, from Parliament to the royal palace, and city officials have urged Spaniards to turn out for the parade and to hang Spanish flags from their homes.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:20 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
updated 8:24 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT