March 7, 2015 / 4:19 PM / in 3 years

Spain arrests Moroccan woman suspected of trying to join Islamic State

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish authorities on Saturday arrested a Moroccan woman resident in Spain on suspicion of attempting to join Islamic State militants in Syria, the interior ministry said.

More than 20 people have been arrested by Spanish authorities since last September as part of efforts to stop young Muslim citizens from becoming jihadists in Syria or Iraq, fearing they might return to plot attacks on home soil.

The woman, named as Samira Yerou in a ministry statement, was intercepted in Turkey while trying to enter Syria undetected with her three-year old son. The ministry said she was then arrested after flying into Barcelona international airport.

“The detainee could have played an important role in the recruitment and delivery of female sympathizers to the terrorist group from Spain and Morocco,” the statement said, adding that the investigation leading to her arrest had been conducted in collaboration with the Turkish authorities.

The woman’s husband, also a Spanish resident, reported her disappearance in December after she left with their son. The child has been returned to its father and is in good health, the ministry statement said.

Spain stepped up security as well as efforts to prevent the radicalization of young Muslim citizens following attacks in Paris in January in which Islamist gunmen killed 17 people.

Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Gareth Jones

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