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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 13:30 GMT
Spain holds 20 'Iraq recruiters'
Guardia Civil arrest suspected Jihad recruiter near Barcelona, 10 Jan 06
It is the latest in a series of Spanish anti-terror swoops
Spanish police have arrested 20 suspected militant Islamists thought to have recruited and trained sympathisers to join the insurgency in Iraq.

The suspects were arrested during pre-dawn raids in and around Madrid, Barcelona and the Basque town of Tolosa, Spanish media report.

They included several thought to be linked to a suicide bomber who killed 18 Italian soldiers and nine Iraqis.

The bomber attacked an Italian military base in Nasiriya in 2003.

Spanish Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso said there were "strong indications" that several of those arrested had links to the bomber.

Fifteen of those arrested on Tuesday were Moroccans, three were Spaniards, one was Turkish and one Algerian, Mr Alonso said.

He said two recruitment cells for the Islamist insurgency had been dismantled in the operation.

According to Spain's El Pais newspaper, in 2005 the Spanish authorities arrested about 90 suspected Islamist extremists, including 16 allegedly involved in recruiting insurgents to fight US-led forces in Iraq.


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