Spanish court remands four suspected IS recruiters

26th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish court on Thursday remanded in custody four men suspected of using Facebook and other social media to recruit fighters for the Islamic State extremist group.

The men, who were arrested in early morning raids on Tuesday in the northeastern region of Catalonia and Melilla, a Spanish enclave neighbouring Morocco, face allegations of proselytism and indoctrination using social media sites, "mainly Facebook", a judicial source said.

One of the men is also accused of running a group on mobile messaging service WhatsApp, that aimed to recruit women for Islamic State, the source added.

Spain's interior minister said one of them also had a Facebook page with more than 1,000 followers, with particularly high penetration in parts of Spain identified as high risk areas for radicalisation.

All four were remanded in custody by High Court judge Santiago Pedraz.

The arrests of the four men come as European nations scramble to prevent young people wanting to travel to Iraq and Syria to fight with the jihadists, to reduce the risk that they will return home and carry out terror attacks.

Spain has dismantled several similar networks, particularly in Melilla and its other north African enclave, Ceuta.

The two enclaves, the only land borders between Africa and Europe, attract thousands of mostly sub-Saharan Africans trying to reach European countries.

Spanish authorities estimate that around 100 nationals have joined jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria, a lower number than those from Britain, France and Germany.

Spain suffered one of Europe's worst ever peacetime attacks on March 11, 2004, when Al-Qaeda inspired bombings killed 191 people in an attack on Madrid commuter trains.

© 2015 AFP

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