Middle East

Spain: Police nab Al-Qaeda-linked terror suspect

Iberia workers hold a Spanish flag as they protest at Terminal 3 in Malaga's Pablo Ruiz Picasso airport, February 22, 2013. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

MADRID: Spanish police on Sunday arrested a suspected member of an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group fighting in Syria, authorities said.

The suspect Abdelwahid Sadik Mohamed, a Spaniard, "is accused of taking part in the 'holy war' in Syria", the interior ministry said in a statement.

He is suspected of "belonging to the terrorist organisation the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)," a jihadist faction in Syria with roots in Al-Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, it added.

"He is considered a risk to national security" for his links to the group, it added.

ISIL is accused of horrific abuses against other insurgents, activists and civilians.

Police seized Mohamed at the airport in Malaga, southern Spain, where he had arrived on a flight from Istanbul.

He is from the north African Spanish territory of Ceuta, which borders Morocco, a government source said separately.

The statement said he had travelled in May from Morocco via Turkey to Syria, where he attended ISIL training camps.

It said he was part of a Spanish-Moroccan group suspected of sending dozens of fighters to Syria from Ceuta.

Spanish police said last year they had arrested several members of that group, which they believe sent some militants to Syria to carry out suicide bombings.

They arrested the leader of that group, Spanish national Yassin Ahmed Laarbi, in September after seizing eight other members in June.

EU governments say hundreds of young Europeans are believed to be fighting alongside rebels in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.





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