Spanish police have arrested eight suspects believed to be recruiting for the jihadist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The alleged leader served time in the US detention facility Guantanamo Bay.
The Spanish Interior Ministry confirmed on Monday that police had raided a terror recruitment cell in a pre-dawn operation. The eight people taken into police custody were allegedly working for ISIS, the same jihadist group currently engaged in an armed conflict with the Iraqi government.
"The main leader of this [recruitment] cell lived in Spain after having spent time at the [US detention facility] Guantanamo," Spain's Interior Ministry said in a statement.
It also said the suspected head of the group had been captured in Afghanistan in 2001.
ISIS, which is sometimes referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has gained ground in Iraq in recent days after occupying the western city of Fallujah for several months. The Sunni insurgent group is seeking to unseat the Shiite-led government under Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Last week, it launched assaults on several other cities, including Mosul, which has since come under its control. The fighting has alarmed international leaders who fear Iraq's weak military will be unable to stop militants from making further gains and that the fighting will unleash a wider civil conflict.
kms/pfd ( AFP, dpa)