A man armed with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle, a handgun and a knife opened fire on a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday before being overpowered by two passengers, both US soldiers. One of the soldiers, and another passenger, were both injured before the assailant was arrested. The attacker is believed to be Ayoub El Kahzzani – the name that French anti-terrorism authorities passed to their Spanish and other European counterparts on Friday night in order to carry out identity checks.
Spanish authorities described the suspect as “very radical and potentially dangerous”
Spain has information on this 26-year-old Moroccan national because he was legally resident in the country for seven years. Spanish anti-terrorism sources have told EL PAÍS that the suspect lived in Spain between 2007 and 2014, first in Madrid, then in the southern port city of Algeciras. He moved to France in March last year and from there traveled to Syria, allegedly to try to enlist with Islamic State. When he left Spain, Spanish authorities alerted the French intelligence services about his presence in France, describing him as “very radical and potentially dangerous.” He was also known to Belgian authorities.
El Kahzzani was legally resident in Spain, possessing a foreigner’s identification number, and his record shows that he was also arrested three times for drug trafficking, twice in Madrid and once in the Spanish north African exclave of Ceuta, the sources said.
Spanish authorities arrested four suspected members of a terror cell Saturday morning in that country’s North African territory of Ceuta, a quartet that Spain’s Interior Minister claimed were well-trained and well-prepared to attack.
What is especially noteworthy with the breakup of this cell are the many parallels with the attacks in Paris recently carried out against the Charlie Hebdo magazine,” Fernandez said, referring to the January 7 massacre that ended with 12 dead.
The suspects, who are Spanish citizens and are of Moroccan origin, are “strongly radicalized” and had psychological and physical training, as well as training in the use of weapons, said the minister while addressing reporters at an event of his ruling conservative party.
“(They were) willing to carry out an attack,” Fernandez said. “And, according to the police, to blow themselves up.”
The Islamic State captures teenage girls in Spanish Muslim communities through propaganda disseminated through social networks. Ceuta is the area most affected by this trend. In one of the known cases a girl from the region (just under 14 years old) tried to travel to Iraq through Turkey, but was intercepted in Melilla. She wanted to join the jihad and marry some extremist fighter. In total there have already been at least five cases of successful ‘fishing’ of minors in Ceuta.
According to experts, the contents spread extremist movement militants are designed to ‘catch’ specifically to adolescents with traditional values, many are fascinated by very simple causes, others consider it a culmination of their practice of Islam. At their age, they perceive it as an adventure and want to participate in it.
In turn, to the extremists, the virgin girls are a key point in their strategy. Although its function is merely reproducing, the idea is to contribute to the expansion of radicalism through the repopulation of the ‘infidels’ nations.
Security forces are concerned about the fascination that is rising among Spanish young Muslims for the Islamic State or Daesh. The concern is even greater in the case of adolescents who are concentrated in the city of Ceuta, where radical Islam has already fished at least five minor children, according to counter-terrorism sources.
Experts call this phenomenon “Express Radicalization.” Young moderate Muslims are becoming -in a matter of weeks and thanks only to the radical content consumed through social networks in the privacy of their homes-into dangerous fighters willing to give their lives for Islam.
Right now there are 837 terrorism investigations underway in Spain, of which 368 involve Islamist groups, according to counter-terrorism sources.
The Interior Ministry considers that the risk of a new Islamist attack in Spain is “high,” and the government has activated a Level 2 alert because of the “probable risk of an attack.”
The main hubs of radical Islam activities are in Catalonia, the Mediterranean and the exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa. The greatest threat comes from local self-radicalized groups and lone wolves, who find inspiration in the idea of global jihad preached by Al Qaeda. But authorities are chiefly concerned about Islamist combatants returning home after fighting in Syria and Mali.
The Spanish intelligence services admitted for the first time that there are Jihadists, belonging to the Al-Qaeda cells returning from Syria to Spain. These are young people willing to do the jihad in Spain after being trained in weapons and explosives. ” We do not know how many have gone and how many of those who have returned. That is the danger, we do not know what we should know. Nobody is able to give reliable figures,”acknowledges a member of the General Information Office.
” The potential danger is brutal. They are people who have already killed. (…)Returnees are the biggest security problem we have, “said a Spanish police official.
So far the only known case of a returned Jihadist is of Abdeluahid Sadik Mohamed, born in Ceuta, age 28, married with two children aged 5 and 6 years old. He participated in the assault on the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad ( Iraq ) to free 500 jihadist prisoners and also participated in the heavy fighting in Syria before he was stopped at the airport of Malaga, in January 2014.
Between fifty to a hundred Spanish individuals are believed to have joined jihadist groups. Most of them come from Ceuta and Melilla, where networks are working to recruit and dispatch Jihadist volunteers.
The route from Syria to Spain via Ceuta begins with the transfer by ferry to Algeciras and then by taking a plane to Istanbul from Malaga or Madrid. Once in Turkey , internal flights take them to the border province of Hatay. From this point on, Jihadists groups, such as Jabhat al Nusra or The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are in charge of bringing them into Syria.
One of the Ceutis that did this route was Rachid Wahbi who along with five other boys of the autonomous city, left for Syria. This taxi driver was 33 years old when he immolated himself in a suicide attack with a truck full of explosives into the headquarters of the Army of Al Assad in the city of Idlib , as evidenced in a video posted on the Internet .
The arrest of Mohamed Sadik Abdeluahid in Malaga brings to the fore the fact that jihadists use the city airport as a platform to return to Spain after their military training. The High Court judge Ismael Moreno sent Sadik to prison on charges of belonging to the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levante (ISIL), responsible for recruiting Mujahideen for Syria from Ceuta and Morocco. According to the judge this cell has sent at least six groups of men from Spain to Syria.
La opinion de Malaga: http://www.laopiniondemalaga.es/malaga/2014/01/12/yihad-sobrevuela-malaga/644800.htmlNew norm to the opening of the mosques
A total of 17 jihadists, most of them residents in Ceuta, have traveled from Spain to Syria to fight in the ongoing civil war has revealed the Real Instituto Elcano. For this reason, the Spanish National Intelligence Center (CNI) has been in contact with representatives of the Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad to request information on these citizens who have moved to Syria to fight the war, given the risk that they may return to their country and turn into a threat.
La Informacion War (In Spanish): http://noticias.lainformacion.com/mundo/el-cni-espanol-pide-al-regimen-de-al-assad-datos-de-yihadistas-de-ceuta-en-siria_dRMtha1s0YxCoPtMesTV37/