Istanbul, Turkey – Spain’s Interior Minister said on Saturday that the Turkish authorities arrested two Spanish residents on charges of having links to jihadi terrorists and membership in the Islamic State armed group.
The couple, a Moroccan man identified as Ahmed Debza and a Spanish woman named as Nadia Ataich Fernandez, who both live in Spain’s northern African enclave of Melilla, allegedly traveled to Turkey in October with their 14-month-old daughter.
The couple were arrested upon their return from Syria to Turkey to await “logistical and financial support” from IS, according to the government statement.
Debza had first attempted to travel to Syria alone in July, in response to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s call to Muslims worldwide to “emigrate” and join what he called his recently declared Caliphate.
The Spanish government reported that Debza allegedly left behind a will in which he bequeathed to relatives his goods including a successful carpentry business.
According to Spain’s Interior Minister, Debza and Ataich Fernandez had been in contact with others to encourage them to also travel to Syria and join IS, offering them assistance to do so.
Spain said its law enforcement officials cooperated with Turkey’s intelligence service and Morocco’s territorial surveillance unit in tracking the couple’s movements.
Reporting by: Ali Darwish,
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