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Spain detains eight al-Qaeda-linked suspects

Ring broken up by security forces in country's North African enclave of Ceuta was allegedly sending fighters to Syria.

Last Modified: 21 Jun 2013 11:19
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Spanish security forces have arrested eight suspects in the country's North African enclave of Ceuta accused of recruiting fighters for an arm of al-Qaeda in Syria.

An interior ministry statement said that police intelligence services and the military-linked Spanish Civil Guard launched operations against the ring early on Friday morning.

"We have broken up a network responsible for sending combatants to al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups operating in Syria," it said.

According to the ministry, security forces confirmed that several "jihadists" were waiting to travel from Spain to Syria and dozens of people had already been sent from the enclave and other parts of Morocco by the ring.

"This network, based in Ceuta and [Moroccan city of] Fnideq, carried out fundraising, indoctrination, and organising and financing travel, in contact with other terrorists and following the guidelines of the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation," the statement said.

Spain's police had been investigating the network since 2009, and the Civil Guard since 2011, before they joined forces early this year.

The eight suspects face charges of "belonging to a terrorist organisation," the ministry said, adding that a National Court judge supervising the investigation had issued search warrants that were being executed on Friday.

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