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 10:27 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
updated 7:52 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province, experts say.
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