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Spain arrests 17 Islamist suspects: radio | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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MADRID (Reuters) -Spanish police arrested 17 people on Tuesday suspected of helping recruit Islamist militants to carry out attacks in Iraq, Spanish state radio reported.

The early-morning arrests were carried out in Madrid and Barcelona and in the Basque country in northern Spain, it said.

A spokesman for the Civil Guard confirmed that an operation was going on, but would not give details.

The radio said those arrested included the imam of a mosque and a suspect who may be linked to an attack on Italian police in Iraq.

A suicide bombing attack on an Italian military police base in southern Iraq in 2003 killed 18 Italians and nine Iraqis.

Last month, Spain arrested 16 people accused of recruiting Islamist militants and a further two surrendered.

A judge jailed six of them on suspicion of recruiting people to send as suicide bombers or insurgents to Iraq, Chechnya or Kashmir. The other 12 were conditionally released pending further investigation.

That investigation focused on a mosque in the southern Spanish city of Malaga that Spanish officials said was frequented by people with radical Islamist beliefs.