Spanish police have arrested a woman who had been planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in the first case of it’s kind since 2017, indicating there is still support in the West for them despite the terrorist organisation’s near-defeat in the Middle Eastern country.
The young woman was arrested at her house in the city of Cullera, located in Valencia province, on Spain’s eastern coast, on 11th November.
According to a press release from the National Police Headquarters in Madrid, the woman had been planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group, despite its virtual eradication that left it holding just 1 percent of Syrian territories.
She is the first woman to have been arrested in Spain on suspicion of travelling to Syria to join a terrorist organisation since 2017.
According to the police, the woman had been planning to travel to the Idlib region, which is held by the de facto Syrian opposition and is home to a number of jihadist fighters.
She allegedly expressed her desire to marry a jihadist and to “become a martyr” after becoming quickly radicalised, and after expressing support for terrorist attacks, such as the recent beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty.
According to the Spanish police, the young woman had been in touch with jihadists in Syria for over a year. She had travelled last January to Turkey, where she made contact with various members of the Islamic State group in north-eastern Syria, to whom she ended up sending around EUR 5,000 (GBP 4,488) to finance their activities.
The Spanish intelligence services found known terrorist fighters amongst the woman’s contacts. They found she had encouraged them to continue their violent jihad, and she had even offered herself to them as a jihadi bride.
The young woman had been planning to travel to Syria via Turkey at the end of November 2020 using falsified documents.
The young woman had apparently lived a “totally Westernised” lifestyle before her radical change, after which she started to wear the niqab and defend jihadist ideology.
She is accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation, financing a terrorist organisation, intent to travel to a conflict zone, and apology for terrorism. She has been placed into preventive detention.
Since 2014, the Spanish police have arrested eight women who intended to travel to conflict zones. The last one was sentenced to five years in prison for belonging to a terrorist organisation.