February 7, 2016 / 1:50 PM / 2 years ago

Spain arrests seven with suspected Islamist militant links

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police arrested seven people with suspected links to Islamist militant groups on Sunday in a dawn raid in the Mediterranean regions of Alicante and Valencia and in Spain’s north African enclave Ceuta, the Interior Ministry said.

It said those arrested were suspected of operating a supply network for Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq, sending money, guns, computer equipment and material for making explosives in sealed containers under the guise of humanitarian relief.

Five of the suspects were Spaniards of Syrian, Jordanian and Moroccan descent and the remaining two were a Syrian and a Moroccan, the ministry said in a statement. Police searched homes, businesses and warehouses as part of the operation.

Sunday’s swoop was the result of two years of investigation into the ring by authorities. The arrested people had carried out their activities in other European countries before settling in Spain, the ministry said.

Spain arrested 102 people with suspected links to Islamist militants last year, more than twice the number arrested in the previous year as police stepped up security measures following attacks in Paris in January 2015.

Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Stephen Powell

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