A video released on Wednesday by the so-called Islamic State includes, for the first time, a specific reference to Al-Andalus, the name given to southern and central Spain controlled for more than five centuries by Muslims.
Lasting more than an hour, the video closes with an image of the Alhambra palace complex in Granada, the last stronghold of the Moorish forces in Spain, which fell to Christian forces in 1492.
Following the attacks in Paris, all Spanish security agencies involved in the fight against terrorism have pooled their data
The video, which EL PAÍS has seen, shows young boys being indoctrinated and trained to join the ranks of the Islamic State. Boys wearing waistcoats bearing ISIS logos are seen handing out leaflets and money, speaking in mosques, as well as fighting in Syria and Iraq with heavy weapons. Toward the end of the video, after images of Baghdad and Rome, aerial footage of the Alhambra is shown.
Spain’s security forces say that Islamic State has increasingly turned its attention to Spain.
“There has been a steady increase in references to Spain,” says a senior Spanish police source, adding: “The release of texts and statements translated into Spanish gives our country greater propaganda relevance and increases the possibility of an attack on Spanish territory.”
“Wherever you see a valid target to punish the Spanish criminals… by whatever means available,” reads one statement in Arabic published on July 18 by the Wafa Media Foundation, which has links to the Islamic State, directed at Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania and Libya.
Since 2004, following the terror attacks in Madrid, Spain’s security forces have carried out 181 operations against Jihadist groups, 163 of them within Spain, resulting in almost 700 arrests, 633 of them in Spain. Since the war in Syria began, some 76 operations have been conducted by anti-terrorism units, leading to 164 arrests.
Spain is considered a hotbed of jihadist recruitment, with many combatants coming from Ceuta and Melilla
Spain’s intelligence services say they have identified 186 Spaniards or people with Spanish residency who have traveled to Syria or other conflict areas, 31 of whom have died while 25 have returned to Spain. Of the latter, 15 are now in jail.
Last year, the Spanish government launched a nationwide plan to locate potential jihadists before they become fully radicalized, hoping to enlist the cooperation of the public.
Spain is considered a hotbed of jihadist recruitment, with many new combatants coming out of the exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
In a revealing use of language, experts no longer talk about Islamist terrorism as “a threat” but as “the threat.”
Following the attacks in Paris by a group of at least eight armed jihadists, all Spanish security agencies involved in the fight against terrorism have pooled their data in a bid to prevent new attacks, cut off recruitment, and shut down the channels used to radicalize sympathizers.
English version by Nick Lyne.