Spanish police have arrested at least 15 people suspected of recruiting fighters to send to Iraq to participate in the insurgency. Spanish police have made several arrests during the past month of people suspected of extremist activities.
Spanish Interior Minister José Luis Alonso said the terrorist network was directed by a well-organized central cell.
The minister said the cell recruited, trained and indoctrinated young volunteers to fight in Iraq or to carry out terrorist attacks.
Mr. Alonso said that the cell was in continual Internet contact with al-Qaida groups in other countries, including Iraq, and had two men ready to be sent there to help the insurgents.
He said there were no indications the group was preparing a terrorist attack in Spain.
Most of the arrests were carried out in predawn raids in the northeastern city of Lerida, Palma de Mallorca, and in the southern cities of Nerja, Malaga, Santiponce, and Seville. Components used in the fabrication of explosives were seized in the raids.
The nationalities of those arrested included Moroccan, Algerian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Ethiopian and Ghanian. At least one suspect is reportedly a Spanish citizen.
Spanish authorities have arrested more than 80 people suspected of collaborating with al-Qaida since the Madrid train bombings last year killed 191 people.
Seven were in arrested in Malaga on December 9, suspected of belonging to an al-Qaida-linked Algerian organization, known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. And, 11 people were arrested in the latter part of November. Some of them were accused of trying to trade drugs for explosives.