16 June 2014
Last updated at 10:19
One of eight suspects is led away by police after the early morning raids in Madrid
Spanish police say they have detained eight people on suspicion of recruiting militants to fight in Syria and Iraq.
They suspect the cell of trying to send jihadists to join the militant group ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Raids were carried out in Madrid in the early hours of Monday, officials say.
The leader of the cell had been held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba after being arrested in Afghanistan, a statement said.
Unconfirmed reports in Spanish media said one of the eight was from Spain, another from Argentina and the other six from Morocco.
The group leader was named by Spanish media as Lahcen Ikasrrien, who was held at Guantanamo Bay for several years but released on his return to Spain in 2005 for lack of evidence.
Raids were carried out on 12 addresses and several suspects were said to be from Morocco
Police were also reported to be hunting the brother of one of the Madrid bombers. Attacks carried by Islamist militants on four trains in March 2004 left 191 people dead and another 1,800 people hurt.
Spanish police have carried out a series of raids against suspected militants in recent months.
A number of people were arrested last month in Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla on suspicion of trying to recruit fighters for Islamist militant groups in Libya and Mali.
But Spain is also concerned about the threat of “blowback” from the conflict in Syria and the Sunni rebel offensive led by ISIS in Iraq, which has led to the capture of a number of towns and cities.
At the weekend, a French national was detained by German police on suspicion of fighting for militants in Syria. He was arrested as he arrived in Berlin on a flight from Istanbul.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (R) lays a wreath with Belgium’s Joelle Milquet in Brussels
Belgian police investigating the murder of four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels are seeking the extradition from France of a militant who spent a year fighting in Syria.
Although Monday’s arrests were not thought to be linked to potential domestic attacks, Spanish police are said to be stepping up security ahead of the proclamation of Prince Felipe as king later this week.