3 Arrests Reported As Spanish Police Crack Down On Extremism

April 21, 2020 - 3:34 am

ALMERÍA, Spain (AP) — Spanish police have arrested at least three people in a southern city for suspected links to religious extremist groups that have allegedly conducted violent actions, The Associated Press has learned.

Three members of Spain’s National Police confirmed Tuesday that the operation was aimed at arresting suspected jihadists but declined to share more details because there could be more arrests. The three spoke on condition of anonymity.

The arrests took place in a central neighborhood of Almería known as Cerro de San Cristóbal. The historic neighborhood in the southeastern Spanish provincial capital has narrow streets dotted by nightclubs and a mix of old and new buildings leading to the city’s Alcazaba, a 10th-century fortress of Arabic origin.

Antonio García, who owns several apartments in the vicinity, told AP that several police vans and heavily armed agents had cordoned off streets in the area for most of Monday.

Taxi driver Angel Vílchez and Miriam Cortez, who lives nearby, separately confirmed that six police vehicles and about 30 officers, including many in plainclothes, have blocked access to several streets since early Monday.

“Everything was blocked off,” Vílchez said. “The place is inundated with marijuana plantations inside houses, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they found something else.”

Another neighbor, who asked not to be named in media reports, said police had showed up at 3 a.m. Monday and took away at least one person handcuffed from an apartment used for short stays by tourists.

Spain's Interior Ministry says police have arrested nearly 400 people connected to extremist religious groups since 2012. Many of the arrests have not led to judicial convictions.

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Parra reported from Madrid.

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