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ARMED FORCES

Military warns of “radicalized” factions inside its own ranks

Command orders restrictions on those with ideological and criminal leanings Sources say extremists include Islamists and neo-Nazis

Miguel González

The Defense Ministry is concerned that a number of its ground troops may be leaning toward ideological and religious extremism or are members of organized crime gangs, according to an internal memo obtained by EL PAÍS.

Labeled as "private," the October 24 internal memo from the Spanish ground troops command recommends ways on how officers should deal with such soldiers, who may pose a security risk because of their alleged ties to extremist groups.

"We have discovered in the ET [ground troops] the existence of personnel with clear signs of radicalism (ideological, religious and criminal), which, in the majority of cases, form part of their private lives and social environment," the memo begins. "The conduct of these individuals creates fragility in the institution and could pose a security risk."

While the document doesn't specify what types of groups may be infiltrating the military, Defense Ministry sources point to various quarters, such as Islamic extremists, neo-Nazis and Latino street gangs such as Latin Kings and Los Ñetas.

The command recommends that officers should deny access to sensitive information and limit movement in security areas to anyone suspected of such ties.

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