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Spain Arrests 8 Suspected Islamist Militants

Maria, the mother of 18-year-old Ismael who was arrested in Piera on suspicion of having links to Islamist militant activities, weeps at their home in Piera, northeastern Spain, March 13, 2015.

Spain has arrested eight suspected Islamist militants with ties to the Islamic State group, the Interior Ministry announced in a statement Friday.

The six men and two women are accused of being part of a network planning terrorist attacks in Spain and recruiting fighters to send to Syria and Iraq.

The ministry statement said the arrests were made in the northeastern provinces of Barcelona and Girona, as well as the central provinces of Ávila and Ciudad Real.

All eight of the people detained are Spanish nationals. Five of them are of Moroccan origin.

"The group represented a serious, definite and continuing threat to national security," said the statement. The ministry said the eight were serving as a propaganda arm for the Islamic State group within Spain.

Spain has arrested dozens of suspected jihadists in recent years.

In March 2004, Islamist militants killed nearly 200 people in Madrid in an attack on the commuter train system in the capital. Bombs exploded on four trains, injuring more than 1,800 others.

Spain is a member of the U.S.-led coalition currently fighting Islamic State militants. It increased its own security after January's deadly terrorist attacks by Islamist militants in Paris.

Some material for this report came from AP and Reuters.