At least 14 suspected members of a cell that recruited would-be fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were arrested Tuesday in a joint operation in Morocco and Spain, authorities said.
Morocco’s Interior Ministry said 13 people were arrested in raids in several cities across the country, including Nador and Hoceima on the Mediterranean coast close to the Spanish enclave of Melilla, as well as Fez and Casablanca. One of those detained had previously been arrested under the country’s anti-terror law.
A Spanish Interior Ministry statement said one person was arrested in the central town of San Martin de la Vega, just southeast of Madrid. It said the members of the group, whose leader was among those detained, maintained close contact with each other in Melilla.
Both ministries said the network was aimed at recruiting men to fight with ISIL in Syria and Iraq and also to carry out ISIL-related missions in Morocco and Spain.
Moroccan and Spanish authorities have previously carried out joint operations focused on the two Spanish enclaves in North Africa, Melilla and Ceuta, and the surrounding Moroccan cities.