Terrorism

Spain arrests Moroccan woman who tried to join Islamic State

Suspect was stopped in Turkey where she tried to sneak across the border into Syria

Samira Yerou during her arrest at Barcelona's airport.
Samira Yerou during her arrest at Barcelona's airport.GUARDIA CIVIL

A Moroccan woman who holds Spanish residency was arrested on Saturday in Barcelona on suspicions that she was planning on joining the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Interior Ministry said.

Civil Guard officers detained Samira Yerou at Barcelona’s El Prat international airport at around 1.30pm after she stepped off a plane from Turkey. Authorities were acting on an arrest warrant issued by the High Court.

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Yerou reportedly left her home in Rubí, near Barcelona, last December, taking her three-year-old son with her. The father of the child, who also holds Spanish residency, had reported the youngster’s disappearance.

According to the ministry, the child is now with the father.

Yerou was stopped in Turkey when she tried to sneak across the border into Syria with the intention of joining ISIS.

It wasn’t clear if Spain had alerted Turkey that Yerou was in the country.

Suspect could have played an important role in the recruitment and delivery of female sympathizers

“The suspect could have played an important role in the recruitment and delivery of female sympathizers to the terrorist group from Spain and Morocco,” the statement said.

Since September, Spanish authorities have arrested more than 200 people as part of their efforts to stop young Muslim citizens from becoming jihadists in Syria or Iraq. Officials fear that they might return to Spain to plot attacks at home.

In a December raid, Spanish police arrested seven people, including one minor, in Barcelona, Ceuta, Melilla and the Moroccan municipality of Castillejos, for allegedly recruiting women to serve in ISIS. Two of the women arrested were about to join the terrorist group.