EIGHT people have been arrested on suspicion of recruiting new members to an Islamist militant group, following police raids in Madrid.
The police have identified the leader of this ring – known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS) – of alleged jihadists as Lahcen Ikasrrien.
He is a former inmate of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but was released in 2005 for lack of evidence and allowed to return to Spain.
In addition to seeking out the ISIS recruiters, the Madrid police raids were also conducted in search of the brother of one of the Madrid train bombers from the 2004 incident. Four trains were bombed, leaving 191 dead and an additional 1,800 wounded.
These types of arrests have not been limited to Spain, however. All across Europe and Africa police have been hunting Islamist militant sympathisers.
Most recently, arrests were made in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Africa.
The heightened security measures and police awareness that these arrests illustrate are likely due to the Spanish governments expressed concern in Islamist violence, specifically the conflict in Syria and the ISIS-led offensive in Iraq.
Though the Spanish government asserts that these arrests had nothing to do with the possibility of a domestic attack, police have been introducing stricter security measures in anticipation of Prince Felipe’s proclamation as king later this week.