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4 Arrested in Spain, Morocco for IS Armed Group Ties

  • Associated Press

FILE - Spanish Civil Guard stand near a tea shop center (r) where they detained an unidentified man of Morocco, northern Spain, Dec.1, 2015. Statements from the interior ministries of both countries said three people were arrested in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta while a Moroccan was arrested in the nearby Moroccan city of Ferkhana.

FILE - Spanish Civil Guard stand near a tea shop center (r) where they detained an unidentified man of Morocco, northern Spain, Dec.1, 2015. Statements from the interior ministries of both countries said three people were arrested in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta while a Moroccan was arrested in the nearby Moroccan city of Ferkhana.

Spanish and Moroccan police on Tuesday arrested four suspected members of a jihadi cell that sought to recruit fighters for the Islamic State group, including one described by Moroccan officials as a former Guantanamo detainee who fought with al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

Statements from the interior ministries of both countries said three people were arrested in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta while a Moroccan was arrested in the nearby Moroccan city of Ferkhana.

The Spanish statement gave no details about the suspects arrested in Ceuta except to say they were Spanish, but the Moroccan statement identified one of those detained in the enclave as a former Guantanamo detainee without providing his name or information about his release from Guantanamo.

Another of those arrested in Ceuta is the brother of a fighter who carried out a suicide attack in 2013 against the Syrian military, the Moroccan statement said.

A spokeswoman for Spain's Interior Ministry did not immediately return a telephone message seeking more details about the background of the suspects taken into custody in Ceuta.

The four had formed a group that looked to recruit fighters to join IS in Iraq and Syria, as well as militants willing to carry out attacks in Spain and Morocco, the Spanish statement said.

Spanish police arrested about 100 suspected Islamic extremists last year and more than 600 since the 2004 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people and injured nearly 2,000.

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