MADRID – Two people have been arrested in Catalonia and the Canary Islands on suspicion of forming an Islamic State group cell and of recruiting and indoctrinating Islamic militants, Spain said Tuesday.
Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the two, a man and a woman both of Moroccan nationality, worked within "a highly professional" network aimed at conveying "an idealized image of their struggle" in order to recruit impressionable young Spaniards and train them in the use of arms and explosives.
Fernandez Diaz said the suspects — arrested Tuesday in northeastern Mataro and on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura — were "in constant contact with the Islamic State hierarchy in Syria" and both had made a public oath of loyalty to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The minister also said the suspects had made "specific threats" against Spain and France but declined to give details.
A ministry statement said evidence seized during Tuesday's raids corroborated theories that "a new strategy is being deployed by ISIS" in a bid to make remote recruitment and training easier.
The detainees allegedly disseminated multimedia material that gave detailed information on the handling of explosives and rifles, to make it easier for activists to commit attacks in their home countries.
The suspects' identities were not revealed except to say that the woman was 19 and arrested in Fuerteventura, and the man was 33.
The ministry said so far this year Spain has arrested 100 Islamic militants.