Source: Ministry of Interior
Saturday 22 December 2018


The Spanish National Police arrests foreign terrorist fighter hiding
in Barcelona after fighting for DAESH in Syria



Officers from the National Police General Intelligence Commissariat, in collaboration with the Provincial Intelligence Brigade of Barcelona, arrested a dangerous foreign terrorist fighter in Mataró, Barcelona Province, on Friday, 21December, for his alleged membership in DAESH. M.E.M., aged 33, is a Moroccan national.

Badge of the Spanish National Police Corps

An International Arrest Warrant issued by Morocco made the arrest possible. The Diréction Général de la Surveillance du Territoire and the National Intelligence Centre collaborated in the operation.

The detainee is an alleged Jihadi fighter who left Morocco in May 2014 to join the ranks of DAESH. According to the investigations, M.E.M. underwent military training for the terrorist group for the purpose of developing a long-range missile base in Syria.

The knowledge acquired at this terrorist group’s training camps in the use of weapons and his extreme radicalism made M.E.M. a real threat capable of carrying out a terrorist action. His training as a Mujahidin allowed him to travel illegally throughout Europe, finally ending up in Spain. He used aliases and, as is characteristic of foreign terrorist fighters, he lacked identification papers that could give his true identity away, since this tends to be destroyed when arriving in a conflict zone to avoid being recognized as members of DAESH in the event of capture by military forces.

A terrorist would constantly look at reflections on shop windows to monitor his surroundings

According to the investigations, the detainee had illegally entered Spain in June 2018. He lived in Barcelona, in occupied dwellings that enabled him to leave no record of his stay. However, the officers managed to detect his presence, observing how his daily movements followed a Mujahidin SOP. For instance, he would habitually retrace his steps and monitor his surroundings through reflections in shop windows and building entrances.

His arrest is framed within the strategy employed by Spain’s General Intelligence Commissariat for the fight against Jihadi terrorism beyond the Spanish borders. It is an example of how to tackle this global criminal phenomenon through police cooperation that transcends national borders, such as the one that exists between Spain and Morocco.

The operation was run by the Spanish Central Investigation Courts and coordinated by the Public Prosecution Service of the National High Court.


Featured image: Simulation of emergency services in the event of a terrorist attack, Madrid/Nils van der Burg, CC BY-SA2.0
Nacional Police Corp badge/Heralder via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA3.0
Man looking at a shop window/Arthur Osipyan, Unsplash