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Spanish Police Arrest Seven Over Suspected IS, Al-Qaeda Links

Spanish police say they have uncovered an operation to smuggle arms to foreign militants under the guise of humanitarian aid and arrested seven people with suspected links to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) groups.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the suspects were arrested during raids on February 7 in the eastern provinces of Valencia and Alicante, and in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta.

They were members of a cell that had sent arms, bomb-making materials, and electronic equipment to Syria and Iraq in shipments disguised as humanitarian aid, the minister said.

"Five are Spanish nationals of Syrian, Jordanian, and Moroccan origin, and two are Syrian and Moroccan nationals," a police statement said.

Police said they began investigating the suspected cell in 2014.

According to the statement, the leader of the cell was in "constant" contact with an IS fighter who repeatedly asked him to recruit women to marry them off to IS jihadists in Syria.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP