Arrest of Suspected Islamic State Operatives in Melilla Underscores Terrorism Concerns
Drun Cussac has issued this latest warning for people traveling and living in the country of Spain. This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…
Severity: 2 (Low)
Source: Drum Cussac
02/24/2015 (Spain) – Media reports indicate that Spanish security forces arrested two militants in the Spanish exclave of Melilla on Tuesday, 24 February. The suspects were allegedly conducting operations in support of Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Iraq. The arrested Islamists are said to have been managing an online based recruitment network targeting women. No violence was reported following the arrests.
In recent months Spanish authorities have conducted multiple security operations targeting Islamist networks in the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast. On 24 January, the Spanish National Police arrested four Spanish citizens of Moroccan decent who were planning a major terrorist attack. They were arrested in Ceuta. In December, joint Spanish-Moroccan operations culminated in the arrest of seven IS operatives in Ceuta. In Melilla in September, police captured nine suspected IS members. US intelligence officials have warned that IS is smuggling fighters to Europe on refugee ships. Following the Paris terror attacks on 7 January, European security agencies have stepped up their efforts against IS militants travelling to the European Union (EU). Ceuta and Melilla represent the EU’s only territory on the African continent. The two towns are transit points for illegal immigrants seeking entry into Europe by land. Attempts to illegally enter the territories have spiked in the last year due to conflict in Libya, Syria and Iraq.
Given their geographic proximity to Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla are likely to remain a hotspot for militant recruitment and smuggling rather than a target for attack. Security efforts to disrupt such activity are likely to occur in the short- to medium-term. These may lead to localised travel delays. Travellers on the Spanish mainland may see heightened security around transport hubs, embassies and consulates, which could cause localised travel disruption. Adhere to the directives of authorities at all times. Maintain vigilance and report any suspicious persons, items or activity to authorities immediately. Stay well-informed of the security environment and the threats, both current and future.
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