MADRID (AP) – Spanish authorities on Tuesday announced the breakup of a ring dedicated to recruiting young women to join the Islamic State extremist group.
Civil guard forces arrested a total of four women in early morning raids in Barcelona, Girona, and the Spanish north African enclave of Melilla.
In a statement posted by El País newspaper, the Interior Ministry said the two arrested in Melilla allegedly created different Internet platforms to post “all types of terrorist group propaganda, especially from the group known as Daesh.”
Also, according to the Ministry, the pair edited and translated the material into Spanish and were also responsible for indoctrinating potential jihadist fighters. As part of the recruitment process, El Pais reported, the two would organize meetings in the homes of potential jihadist recruits to show them videos.
The four were not identified but the ministry said the they had started preparations to move to the conflict zones where IS operates, the ministry said.
Authorities were investigating whether the two arrested in Barcelona and Girona had connections with the alleged Melilla recruiters.
One of those arrested had a Facebook page with more than 1,000 followers, with particularly high penetration in parts of Spain identified as high risk areas for radicalization, the ministry said.
Spain has arrested dozens of suspected jihadi militants and recruiters in recent years, especially in Melilla and Spain's other North African enclave, Ceuta. The two small cities are surrounded by Morocco and the Mediterranean.
Officials have said about 80 Spanish citizens have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join groups there and about a dozen have returned. Some have been jailed after coming home. Many more have headed to the countries from other European nations such as France.