The Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) arrested a supporter of the so-called Islamic State terrorist organisation in an operation developed together with Europol. The suspect was searching, editing and further disseminating terrorist propaganda material to young people online.
The terrorist threat is real online
On 20 October, officers from the Spanish authorities arrested a Moroccan citizen in Altea, Alicante suspected of spreading terrorist propaganda online. He was attempting to radicalise and recruit new members for the so-called Islamic State. The suspect was targeting young people via social networks and, to avoid detection from security services, he was later redirecting them to a private messaging application. He was then deepening the radicalisation process while sending them more terrorist propaganda material. Virtually integrated into the so-called Islamic State, the individual shared the violent outlook of the terrorist group and spread it to those he was seeking to recruit online. Joint law enforcement actions enabled the detection of these terrorism-inspired online activities of the suspect.
Since 2015, when the terror alert was increased, the Spanish authorities have strengthened their efforts to counter terrorism activities. More intensified investigative and operative actions specifically target individuals immersed in the radicalisation process. Their terrorism-inspired mindset is a precursor for violent behaviour, an imminent threat to the safety of EU citizens. The efforts of the security services were further enhanced during the current pandemic to counter the possible attempts of terrorist groups to abuse the current situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.