Spain arrests man accused of recruiting women for ISIS

MADRID (AFP) - Police in Spain's north African territory of Melilla arrested a man suspected of recruiting women for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group, the government said Wednesday.

Spanish police working with Moroccan security services seized the man overnight as part of a major investigation into gangs suspected of recruiting women and minors to send them to Syria and Iraq.

They arrested a 29-year-old man from Melilla, a small fenced-off city on the tip of northern Morocco, the interior ministry said in a statement.

It said he possessed "multimedia files of a jihadist nature".

"Some of his propaganda and indoctrination material was aimed specially at radicalising women."

It said officers also seized recordings of "radical sermons" in favour of the ISIS group.

The suspect is accused of sharing the material with his son, a minor, "to familiarise him with jihadist tactics".

ISIS has claimed numerous killings and kidnappings in Iraq and Syria, where in June 2014 it declared an "Islamic Caliphate" in territory under its control.

Melilla is one of two Spanish territories bordering Morocco, along with Ceuta to the west.

They have Europe's only land borders with Africa, posing a security concern to Spanish authorities.

Spain has been cracking down on suspected militants over the past year, arresting scores of people, mostly in Melilla, Ceuta and the northeastern mainland region of Catalonia.

The government says at least 116 Spaniards have left to join militant groups in Syria and Iraq, according to a figure dating to July 6.

Authorities say hundreds of other militant recruits from countries such as Britain, France and Germany are thought to have headed the same way.