Spain nabs 9 terror suspects, probes links to Brussels, Paris attacks
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Spain nabs 9 terror suspects, probes links to Brussels, Paris attacks

Police say four of the men detained during raids in the Catalonia region are members of Islamic State

A picture taken off CCTV showing suspects in the Brussels airport attack on March 22, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube)
A picture taken off CCTV showing suspects in the Brussels airport attack on March 22, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Police in northeastern Spain arrested nine suspected members of a jihadist group Tuesday in raids that might help resolve recent deadly attacks in Belgium and France.

Police said they arrested one Spaniard and eight Moroccans living in Catalonia between 30 and 40 years old.

The men arrested in Catalonia “may have participated or cooperated in past actions” and may have traveled to Belgium, Catalonia’s regional interior minister Jordi Jane told radio Rac1.

A regional police spokeswoman said at least four of the detained are suspected of being linked to people arrested following the 2016 Brussels airport and subway attacks that killed 32 people and wounded 300 others. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with police regulations.

The attacks were led by an Islamic State cell that was also responsible for the carnage in Paris in November 2015.

Regional police spokesman Josep Lluis Trapero told TV3 regional television that four of the detained were clearly members the Islamic State group. He said the arrests could help solve investigations into the attacks in France and Belgium.

Trapero said the group was also being investigated for drug trafficking and other crimes.

A police statement said officers made 12 raids in five Catalan towns including the regional capital, Barcelona.

It said the arrests followed an eight-month investigation in coordination with Belgian police.

Spanish police have arrested some 200 suspected jihadis since Spain raised its national security alert to one step below the maximum in 2015.

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