MADRID – Spanish police have arrested three Moroccan men on the Canary island of Tenerife suspected of having captured and sent a man to Syria to join the ranks of the Nusra Front terror organization.
The ministry reported that the "fighter" had been recruited in a call center in the town of San Isidro on the island by the trio, aged 27, 35 and 37, who had acted as imams and spokesmen for the local mosque.
The trio of detainees had befriended the 35-year-old and introduced him to Salafi jihadism . . . Before being radicalized and recruited, the jihadist had not been religious and even had a conviction for drug trafficking. After the radicalization process, he was so "devout" that he even had marks on his forehead because he spent so much time kneeling in prayer,
They also maintained close contact with him while he was in Syria, where he lost his left hand and suffered a serious ankle injury in the fighting, which forced him to abandon the battle and return to the Canary Islands.
The "fighter" returned to Tenerife, the largest of the islands, from Syria in 2015, but when he realized that it would be impossible for him to hide, he then decided to travel to central Europe and attempt to pass himself off as a refugee. The detainees helped him leave Spanish territory with cash and presumably false documents.
He was subsequently detained in Budapest and expelled to Morocco, said the Interior Ministry, adding that the man's current whereabouts are "unknown." Spain’s authorities carried out the operation in collaboration with Europol.