MADRID, Spain – Police on Wednesday arrested 10 people suspected of financing and providing logistical support to an Islamic extremist group linked to the Al Qaeda terror network, Spain's interior minister said.
The suspects were detained in and around three Spanish cities — Alicante, Murcia and Granada — and heavily armed police seized computer equipment, drugs and $41,200 in cash during the morning raids, officials said.
"The detained were part of a cell that gave logistical support and finance to the Salafist Group for Call and Combat," Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso said at a news conference. The Algerian-based group, also known as GSPC, has declared allegiance to Al Qaeda.
The suspects were accused of financing terrorist activities through petty crime, including drug trafficking and forged credit cards, Alonso said. He said the cell had connections with other European cells in Germany, France, Britain, Belgium and Denmark.
The interior minister, however, emphasized that the group was not planning an imminent attack. Last year's train bombings in Madrid that were blamed on Islamic militants linked to Al Qaeda killed 191 people and wounded some 1,500 in Spain's worst terrorist attack.
Judge Fernando Andreu of Spain's National Court — the tribunal that handles suspected terror cases — ordered the arrests after a 10-month investigation, and police raided homes and businesses in the three cities.
"The operation is framed within the government's anti-terrorist policy aiming to cut terrorism at the roots," Alonso said.
The suspects' nationalities were not immediately known, as police tried to confirm their identities, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
The 10 were expected to be taken to Madrid on Saturday to be questioned by Andreu.
Spain has arrested more than 150 suspected terrorists in the last two years, mostly in connection with last year's train bombings.