Germany detains suspected jihadist who fled Spain

5th August 2015, Comments 0 comments

German police have detained a suspected Islamic State jihadist who fled Spain last month, German and Spanish authorities said Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Moroccan national, who lives in Spain, was detained on Tuesday near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany, German state police said in a statement.

A Spanish court had issued a warrant for his arrest, the Spanish interior ministry said earlier.

The ministry said he was "very active on social networking sites, playing the role of recruiter by touting the benefits of joining (Islamic State) fighters."

In early July he expressed his intention to fight alongside Islamic State extremists in Syria and invited his followers on social networks to join him.

He escaped police raids on the island of Lanzarote on Spain's Canary Islands, in which a woman was arrested on suspicion of recruiting young women and teenagers for travel to Syria.

The Moroccan suspect was not identified, was finally arrested in a home for asylum-seekers in the southwestern German town of Ludwigsburg where he claimed to be a refugee, the Stuttgart prosecutor's office and the state police of Baden-Wuerttemberg said in a joint statement.

They said he had expressed intent to commit an attack in Spain or against Spanish institutions abroad.

Spain has been cracking down on suspected jihadists in recent months.

Scores of suspects have been arrested, mostly in the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, on the north coast of Africa, and in the northeastern Catalonia region.

The government says at least 116 Spaniards have left to join Islamist militant groups in Syria and Iraq, as of July 5, a relatively low number compared to other European nations such as France and Britain, which have seen hundreds of citizens travel to the Middle East to wage jihad.

European governments fear that combattants could return to mount attacks on home soil.

Spain's interior ministry in June raised its terror alert level from three to four, with five being the highest on the scale.

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© 2015 AFP

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