Spain detains Moroccan mother who wanted to send twins to jihad in Syria

masked Spanish police officers lead a detained woman in Melilla in connection with recruiting women to join jihadists in Syria. (Reuters)

A Spanish court Wednesday remanded in custody a Moroccan woman suspected of trying to send her twin 16-year-old sons to Syria to become jihadi fighters, a year after her other son was killed there.

Spain’s National Court, which is charged with terrorism cases, ordered that the woman be held in jail for the suspected crime of cooperation with a terrorist organisation.

Police arrested the woman along with her husband and two sons Tuesday in the northeastern city of Badalona near Barcelona.

The teenagers had been in contact with jihadi recruitment networks and were believed to be on the verge of leaving for Syria via Turkey, the interior ministry said.

The National Court said the woman had “organized for her children the necessary steps to travel to a conflict zone.”

The court also accused the woman’s husband of “cooperating with a terrorist organization” but released him on condition that he turn in his passport and present himself to a police station every week while the investigation is carried out.

The two teenage boys will be questioned by a juvenile court judge.

The interior ministry said the brothers had been under surveillance since a third brother had traveled to Syria, where he is believed to have “joined jihadis groups linked to Daesh (an acronym for ISIS).”

That brother died in 2014.

The 16-year-olds had left public school in Spain to study the Quran inMorocco and were “immersed in a process of radicalization”, according to the interior ministry.

Several cells accused of recruiting fighters for ISIS have been dismantled in recent months in Spain, particularly in the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

Since the beginning of the year, 29 suspected jihadis have been arrested in Spain and the authorities have prevented “around 50 foreign fighters” from departing the country, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said Tuesday.

According to Spanish authorities, around 100 Spaniards have joined jihadi groups in Iraq or Syria, a relatively small number compared to the thousands of French, British, Belgian and German nationals who have traveled to the Middle East to wage jihad.


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