Spain breaks up online network recruiting young women for ISIS

Spain said Tuesday it had broken up an online network accused of recruiting young
women to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants fighting in Iraq and Syria and arrested four suspects.

The arrests came as European nations scramble to halt a surge in young people wanting to travel to Iraq and Syria to fight with the militants.

Two of the suspects were arrested in Melilla, the Spanish enclave neighboring Morocco, in the latest operation by Spain’s authorities targeting such recruiting networks. The others were detained in Girona and Barcelona in Spain’s northeast.

The two arrested in Melilla were said to be behind the creation and operation of several Internet platforms spreading propaganda, particularly for ISIS, the interior ministry said in a statement. “In line with the strategy of the Daesh [ISIS] terrorist group, they focused on the recruitment of women who, after a process of indoctrination, would end up joining the terrorist group in conflict zones,” it said, referring to the Arabic name for ISIS.

Private home visits were also organized for recruiting purposes and a number of young people had begun preparations to travel to war zones, the ministry said.

One of those arrested ran a “virtual community” with ISIS propaganda and more than 1,000 subscribers, it said.