MADRID – Spanish police on Tuesday arrested a suspected member of Al Qaeda who was key to the terror group's Internet propaganda and recruiting operations, officials said.
The suspect arrested in the eastern city of Valencia "administered one of the world's most important jihadist forums", dedicated to recruiting and indoctrinating Islamic terrorists, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said.
The name of that forum and the suspect's name were not given, only his initials, M.H.A. He is Jordanian-born with Saudi citizenship.
"He was known within the organization as Al Qaeda's librarian," Fernandez Diaz said, without specifying what that term meant in this case.
The suspect worked at home "8 to 15 hours a day" for al-Qaida and for two offshoots, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the minister said.
"He spread jihadist ideas and worked to recruit and arrange transportation of possible jihadists to Afghanistan and other countries where terrorism is very active," the minister said.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement he was arrested as part of a probe that determined the man used the Web to distribute videos designed to encourage terrorist acts, the ministry said in a statement.
Fernandez said the raid in which he was arrested was not linked to the case in Toulouse, France, in which a self-proclaimed jihadist killed seven people before being killed last week after a long standoff with French police.
The minister said the alleged killer in France, Mohamed Merah, became indoctrinated thanks to the work of people like the Valencia suspect but the cases were not related.
Spain says the Valencia arrest stemmed from a probe that began in February 2011. The suspect was arrested at home on orders from an investigating magistrate in Madrid.