Arrests

The arrests were made early yesterday morning and the four were later flown to Madrid in two helicopters for questioning.

28-06-2017

The central government delegate to the Balearics, Maria Salom, was quick to call for calm yesterday after four suspected members of ISIS were arrested on the island.

Two were held in Inca, another in Ariany and the fourth in Binissalem.

“Today, no one says there is a zero risk of a terrorist attack but I want to issue a message of calm and tranquility and I have full confidence in the National Police and the Guardia Civil,” Salom said.

Apart from the four men arrested here in Majorca, two more were arrested in the UK and Germany as part of a Spanish investigation into support for so-called Islamic State, police said.

The suspects are said to have produced and spread violent videos to recruit would-be jihadist fighters online.

One was a 44-year-old man from Birmingham, described by Spanish officials as a Salafist imam.

He was held in the city’s Sparkhill area under a European Arrest Warrant.

West Midlands police said he was arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Police in western Germany said they had detained a 28-year-old Spanish national in Dortmund, emphasising there was no indication of any planned attack in Germany itself. The Spanish investigation dates back to 2015 when a series of videos were posted online showing how a young Muslim in Spain was indoctrinated, recruited and eventually sent to fight in Syria.

Spanish authorities said the Salafist preacher based in Birmingham was known to European police and intelligence and they alleged he came to Palma to steer the jihadist cell.

The group was based in Majorca and organised secret weekly meetings aimed at recruiting young people to travel to conflict zones to fight, the Spanish interior ministry said.

It added that Spain had arrested 178 “jihadist terrorists” since June 2015.

Yesterday afternoon, the four men arrested here in Majorca were flown to Madrid in two helicopters where they will be held and questioned by the anti-terrorist services while the investigation continued here in Majorca.

The arrests were made as part of dawn raids and the Balearic president, Francina Armengol, was informed as soon as the four had been detained.

She subsequently contacted the chief of the National Police and the mayors of the corresponding municipalities in which the four were arrested.

Salom told a press briefing that this is the third anti ISIS operation to have been carried out in the Balearics since April last year.

The first was the arrest of a young man in Palma and the second involved the arrest of two people in Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza.

Salom also reminded the general public about the government’s STOP radicalisation campaign in which society at large is being urged to participate by contacting, in confidentiality, any suspicious behaviour or suspected radicalisation.

The sister of one of the four suspect’s held in Majorca said that her brother was a religious person who regularly visited the mosque, but he was a pacifist. “Do you honestly think he would have planned anything during Ramadan?”
His wife said that he had lived here since he was a child “why would he do something bad in his own country?”

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