Police say suspect had planned to travel to Turkey and then go to Syria to join ranks of Islamic State
MADRID: A 22-year-old Spanish woman suspected of trying to reach Syria to join religious extremists was arrested on Tuesday at Madrid airport before boarding a flight to Turkey, police said.
The woman is originally from the south-western province of Huelva and had converted “to the most extreme form of Islam and allegedly maintained contact with radical elements”, they said in a statement.
Saudi Shias hang on to rituals after 5 killed in Islamic State claimed shooting
“The woman had planned to travel to Turkey and then go to Syria to join the ranks of Daesh,” police added, using the Arabic name for the Islamic State group.
She was the latest of several suspected female IS sympathisers detained in Spain since last year over security concerns.
In September police arrested an 18-year-old Moroccan woman accused of preparing to travel to Syria to join the group, and in July a woman was arrested in the Canary Islands accused of recruiting young girls and facilitating their passage to areas controlled by IS.
Like other European nations, Spain has made clamping down on radicalised extremist cells a priority, but it has been unable to stem the flow of people out of the country to join IS in Syria and Iraq.
It estimates that around 100 nationals have joined extremist fighters in the two countries, a lower number than those from Britain, France and Germany.
Russia’s aim in Syria is defeat of Islamic State, not prop up Assad: Russian PM
Officials fear they may return to launch attacks on Spanish soil. In March 2004, al Qaeda-inspired bombers blew up four packed commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people.