16 July 2012
Interview of Ignacio Cosidó, General Director of Spanish Police about the jihadi threat in Spain
-Spain remains the focus of international jihad?
-No doubt the international jihad has Spain as a target. But it is a shared threat across Europe and the Western world.
– Is the risk of attack higher or controlled?
-Jihadist terrorism is the threat that concerns us the most at medium and long term. Recent events in the Sahel and the strength of Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb are very obvious risk factors, especially by our geographical location. The police are on constant alert, to avoid either the recruitment of terrorists or funds in Spanish territory or the departing of Spanish Jihadis to training camps.
– Is Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb the biggest risk or are there others?
-Yes, but mainly by geographical proximity, but again, the risk of Al-Qaida is shared in all Western European countries. It is also true that references to Spain by this group in their communications and their web sites are quite recurrent. The problem to combat jihadism is that its members are not grouped into organized structures. Sometimes they are just individuals who, as happened in Toulouse last March, decide to commit terrorist acts on their own.
-These are called ‘lone wolves’. Are there in Spain?
-So far they have not appeared in our country but it is certainly a threat that we take into consideration, especially after what happened in France. It is not a hypothetical threat it is a real threat.
– Are there more or less radical Islamist activities since 11-M?
-Al-Qaida as a centralized organization is weaker than a decade ago, but it is true that the increased presence of jihadi terrorism in the Sahel is greater. The threat persists with different methods.