Spanish police arrested two suspected funders of Islamic State terrorists in Syria
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- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
More than a dozen armed police have raided homes in Spain in connection with a key European ISIS cell suspected of sending money to Syria.
Two men have been arrested for allegedly collecting financial contributions from the terrorist group’s supporters across Europe and sending it on to fighters.
The Spanish National Police, supported by European crime agency Europol, carried out the raids in Madrid and Toledo on Thursday.
Footage of a raid shows armed officers entering an apartment and taking out a suspect, whose face was covered, and placing him a van.
Multiple items of evidence were then retrieved.
Europol said the men are believed to be part of the ‘remittance office’ in Europe for ISIS.
“They were allegedly in direct communication with jihadi fighters,” it said.
“This network aimed at transferring assets to conflict zones. The network had contacts in different European countries who were in charge of collecting financial contributions from followers of ISIS.
“The funds were mainly destined to support foreign fighters in Syria. A hawala network facilitated the final transactions sent from Spain to the conflict zones.”
In the last 18 months, the Spanish National Police, with support from Europol, has carried out three other operations targeting the same network.
“These have led to the arrests of three other individuals accused of being part of the same ‘remittance office’ in Europe of ISIS,” it added.
“Currently, all of them are in prison.”
The EU has previously said many Islamist terrorist groups, including ISIS, rely on hawalas as a tool to move money around the world to support affiliate groups and carry out attacks.
According to US and European officials, hawalas are a “critical part of the ISIS financial infrastructure.”
In the hawala system, one party deposits cash at a money-exchange office and another party withdraws the same amount of cash at a separate money-exchange office.
The transfers are quick and leave no paper trail.
Source: The National News