Paris attacks: 'Mastermind' tried to recruit women in Spain, says minister

Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez said that Abdelhamid Abaaoud tried to recruit women living in Spain for ISIS.
Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez said that Abdelhamid Abaaoud tried to recruit women living in Spain for ISIS. PHOTO: EPA

MADRID (AFP) - The suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, tried to recruit women living in Spain for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said on Thursday (Nov 19).

"This person, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, tried to recruit Spaniards, especially women, though social networks to join and fight with Daesh," he said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

"This was not to carry out attacks in Spain. Regarding this we have no knowledge," he added.

The minister said ISIS has focused on recruiting women to "repopulate the caliphate" which it proclaimed in 2014 in the huge swathes of Syria and Iraq under its control.

Spanish police have arrested several women this year on suspicion of recruiting women and teenage girls for ISIS.

Last month, the police arrested a 22-year-old Spanish woman at Madrid airport suspected of trying to join Islamist extremists in Syria.

Abaaoud was among those killed in a police raid in a suburb of the French capital, the Paris prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday.