16 Jun, 2024 @ 13:19
1 min read

Nine arrests in Spain as Guardia Civil and FBI bust Islamic State’s ‘biggest terrorist propaganda operation’

The joint operation into Islamic State propaganda
Credit: Guardia Civil

SPAIN’S Civil Guard and the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have broken up what they say was the ‘biggest propaganda operation’ ever seen linked to terrorist group Islamic State.

The international operation was coordinated by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), and targeted what are known as Terrorist Operated Websites (TOW).

A total of nine people were arrested in Spain as part of the operation. The detentions were carried out in Algeciras (Cadiz), Antas (Almeria) and Salt (Girona). 

Another arrest was made in January at Barcelona’s El Prat airport, when one of the suspects was about to take a flight to a conflict zone after having become radicalised by Islamic State.

The joint operation into Islamic State propaganda
The joint operation into Islamic State propaganda. Credit: Guardia Civil

The investigation began in Spain in 2022, after the authorities detected terrorist content appearing online translated into Spanish. 

The content was linked to a media outlet called Fundacion I’lam. Investigations showed that the people behind the outlet had also created other media sites that were loyal to Islamic State. 

Fundacion I’lam was allegedly facilitating access to terrorist propaganda in more than 30 different languages, providing a public access point to material from Islamic State. 

According to a statement from the Guardia Civil, the joint operation with the FBI took place in a series of different countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, France, Estonia, Romania and Iceland. 

The operation succeeded in blocking one of the main sources of online terrorist propaganda. 

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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