Spain's interior minister says eight suspected jihadist militants arrested this week formed part of a terrorist recruitment network that had sent 50 militants to carry out attacks for al-Qaida-linked groups in Syria.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz says the arrests by police early Friday in the Spanish north African enclave of Ceuta had disbanded and "neutralized" the network.

Fernandez Diaz said Saturday those who had gone to Syria had fought against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and some had taken part in suicide bombings.

He says when members who had been involved in terror attacks in Syria returned to Europe they remained a threat to security, some as potential "lone wolf" terrorist who needed to be arrested.

The identities of those arrested were not immediately available.