Spain’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that security forces in the two countries dismantled a “terror cell made up of six individuals.” One of them was arrested in Melilla, a tiny Spanish enclave in North Africa, and the other five arrests were made in Morocco, the statement added.
“An investigation by the Moroccan security services found evidence that this group was planning large-scale terror attacks, holding discreet nighttime meetings during which they carried out physical training and simulated murder by decapitation,” the ministry said.
The Moroccan Interior Ministry said the individuals had been receiving training on “how to slit throats with knives,” MAP news agency reported.
Five of the suspects were Moroccan, one of whom was a resident in Spain. The sixth was a Spanish of Moroccan origin.
Spanish police said the leader of the group was a 39-year-old Spaniard of Moroccan origin living in Melilla.
“He used his position as an assistant teacher in a center for reeducating minors to carry out recruitment activities and to radicalize young people in a vulnerable situation,” the Moroccan ministry said, adding that such activity was “in line with the global strategy” of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The news comes less than a month after deadly terrorist attacks rocked Spain.
At least 16 people died in terrorist attacks in the Spanish city of Barcelona and the nearby town of Cambrils on August 17 and 18. Many of the assailants were reported to be of Moroccan origin.