Largest jihadi recruitment structure in Spain dismantled

The Guardia Civil has arrested two people in Benavente (Zamora) and Cullera (Valencia) for their involvement in the largest known jihadist structure in Spain dedicated to ​​recruiting young people and minors. The detainees were brought before the courts on August 4, when their provisional detention was ordered.

The operation was carried out jointly between the Information Service of the Guardia Civil and the Moroccan Direction Générale de la Surveillance du Territoire (DGST), under the direction of the Central Investigating Court No. 6, the Central Investigating Court No. 3 (acting de Guardia) and the Prosecutor’s Office of the National Court.

Within the framework of the work of early detection of potential terrorist threats to National Security, the Guardia Civil Information Service began an investigation into two people who, although they were located in different provinces, were acting in concert and coordination in the virtual environment to capture and indoctrinate other users of social networks in the postulates of jihadist terrorism.

Both elaborated and publicly disseminated terrorist content that allowed them to identify and select those users most prone to radicalisation. Subsequently, they became part of a private group, administered by the two detainees, in which dozens of users were identified throughout Spain, with more than ten provinces affected to date.

The investigations have verified how the proselytising activities of the detainees transcended the virtual sphere, having detected several graffiti on public roads in which they exposed the slogans of the terrorist organisation DAESH such as “DAWLAT AL ISLAM BAQUIYAH”, which means “Islamic State” remains and expands.

The audience on which those investigated focused their terrorist indoctrination activities was made up mostly of 18-year-olds and minors, which indicates a clear desire to reach an audience that is especially vulnerable to radicalisation processes, using a multiplatform based strategy on a combined use of the main social networks used in that age range.

The dozens of users present in the private group managed by both have been recipients of audiovisual content, messages, and ideal slogans to attract and radicalise new adherents to the terrorist cause. Those investigated carried out their own editing and the translation of original content in other languages ​​of the media field of the terrorist organisation DAESH into Spanish, which indicates a clear intention to target the young Spanish-speaking community, facilitating access to terrorist content for those that, in its original version, its full compression would be difficult.

The Guardia Civil’s action on potential victims who have been able to be identified within the framework of radicalisation processes has been designed with the participation of personnel specialised in care and intervention with minor victims in a context of vulnerability.

For the success of the operation, carried out since mid-2022 by the Guardia Civil Information Service, the collaboration of the Moroccan DGST has been essential, which highlights the importance of international cooperation between anti-terrorist services to be able to face this threat and the great challenge of anticipating the move to action by terrorists.