Suspected Amsterdam-Paris train attacker spent seven years in Spain

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 call centers and butcher’s shops fund jihad

There is a network of at least 250 call centers, halal butcher’s shops and grocery stores in Spain funding jihadist operations in Syria and Iraq. To send donations to the Islamic State (ISIS) or the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, the network uses the ‘hawala’ informal money transfer system. The system avoids inspection by the authorities and moves the savings of over 150,000 Muslims, estimated at 300 million euros per year, Spanish daily El Pais quoted intelligence services as saying.
It is used by Syrian, Tunisian, Algerian and especially Pakistani immigrants. Investigators say that there are about 300 hawala terminals and clandestine ‘offices’ in Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida, Bilbao, Santander, Valencia and Madrid used by the network to support the ‘jihadist cause’.

It is also the channel through which payments to jihadists of Spanish nationality get to Spain from camps in northern Syria. Intelligence services estimate that there are about 100 youth – mostly of Moroccan origins – that have joined ISIS, including about 15 that have been killed in suicide operations against the Syrian regime under Bashar Al-Assad.

It is also the channel through which payments to jihadists of Spanish nationality get to Spain from camps in northern Syria. Intelligence services estimate that there are about 100 youth – mostly of Moroccan origins – that have joined ISIS, including about 15 that have been killed in suicide operations against the Syrian regime under Bashar Al-Assad.

 

Spanish authorities dismantle terror cell in Ceuta

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.”

IS “fishing” for teenage girls in Spain

A view of the Principe District in Ceuta. Ceuta is inhabited by majority North Africans and is increasingly a hotspot of recruiting activity for ISIS. (Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP)
A view of the Principe District in Ceuta. Ceuta is inhabited by majority North Africans and is increasingly a hotspot of recruiting activity for ISIS. (Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP)

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.

 

New threat of “Express Radicalization” amongst moderate youth in Spain

© Horsey, Los Angeles Times, 2013.
© Horsey, Los Angeles Times, 2013.

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.

In Spain, “The radical ideas are being transmitted in the virtual world.”

Riay Tatary, president of the Union of Islamic Communities (UCIDE) of Spain defended yesterday that Islam “is peace and therefore can not be used as a synonym for violence or terrorism.”

He also insisted that the Muslim Spanish community is well integrated and that “ radical ideas are being transmitted over the Internet, in the virtual world. It occurs in homes, in closed rooms. “ He also pointed out that the youth receives a weak islamic educaction through the web and this creates a need among the community to strenghten universal values such as such as coexistence, tolerance, justice, equality, freedom.

New Islamic Center of Alicante will seat 600 people

The Alicante City Council signed yesterday a license to allow the construction of an Islamic Center.
The Islamic Center of Alicante will seat approximately 600 people. The center consists of three floors and a total area of ​​about 950 square meters, the first plant will have a surface of 650 square meters, a women’s section, a library, and offices. The second floor is devoted to the development of different cultural and social activities.

The Islamic community in Alicante, founded in 1991, is a founding member of the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain.

Spanish girl, 14, held on suspicion of trying to join Isis

August 4, 2014

Spanish police have detained a 14-year-old girl and a 19-year-old woman suspected of trying to join Islamist extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Security forces stopped the teenagers on Saturday as they tried to enter Morocco allegedly to join Islamic State (Isis), whose fighters have seized swaths of Iraq and Syria, the government said.

“The detention of two women recruited for jihad is a remarkable and unprecedented event in Spain,” the interior ministry said.

They were detained at the Beni Enzar border crossing in Melilla, one of two tiny Spanish territories on the north African coast, which share a border with Morocco.

“The two women detained in this police operation are a clear example of this,” the interior ministry said. “Their radicalisation, recruitment and later dispatch as combatants were perfectly planned and organised by a network that operates across north Africa and has as its main goal getting the maximum number of unquestioning combatants.”

 

Tags:

Catalonia is the priority of the CNI (Intelligence Service) research on jihadist cells

July 17, 2014 

While ISIS militias continue their progress in Iraq and Syria, in Spain the fight against jihadist cells is intensified especially in Catalonia which is considered  by the intelligence Service, the hottest spot for jihadism.

CNI is  searching the area for cells that may be ready to send mujahideen to Iraq and Syria.

Right now, Spain is on level 2 for Islamist attack risk – “probable risk of attack” – coinciding with the campaign of Iraq and Syria and the ‘Crossing the Straits’ (Paso del Estrecho) operation.

Burqa law ban in Catalonia

In 2010 a ban against women wearing burqas in public buildings was approved by the city of Lleida in Catalonia. Women who would disobey such ban would incur in a fine between €300 and €600. The ban was adopted by several other localities in the area on the basis of public space control and public safety.

Later in 2013, all bans against the use of burqas and niqab in the region of Catalonia were annulled by theSpanish Supreme Court claiming that local authorities do not have the juridical right to legislate about fundamental rights.

Following the Strasbourg Court recent conclusions that the use of burqa or niqab in public buildings is not against the European Convention of Human Rights, the Catalonian Government announced that they will begin to prepare a new set of laws to regulate the use of integral veils and burqas in these spaces. The new conclusion of the European Court opens according to the Catalonia Government a new perspective that concerns the women’s right of dignity.