Law enforcement in Spain join international campaign against internet terrorist manuals

Benidorm collects plastic bottle caps and lids for disadvantaged children. Image: Benidorm Town Hall

SPAIN’S National Police and Guardia Civil took part in the European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) 17th Joint Referral Action Day against online terrorism crime. 

They worked with specialised units from EU Member States, non-EU countries and other Europol specialised units.  

This joint action was coordinated from Europol’s headquarters in The Hague and mainly targeted manuals and tutorials explaining how to build improvised explosive devices (IED) and use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents in the context or terrorism. 

During the referral action days, the parties involved reviewed the referral process, from the detection of terrorist content to its flagging to online service providers (OSPs). The focus of this initiative included the detection and referral of terrorist content in a number of platforms. A total amount of 1,733 items were referred to the involved OSPs with a request to be reviewed against their terms of service. 

The joint operation included also dark web investigations focusing on the trade of CBRN explosive agents in dark web markets. In addition, investigators from the participating countries conducted investigations regarding suspicious transactions of chemical precursors in online retailers. 

This action included law enforcement agencies from Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom (Metropolitan Police) and the USA (FBI). 

There have been several instances of DAESH terror propagandists being arrested in Spain in the past few months. 

In September National Police arrested an alleged member of DAESH (ISIS) who was storing manuals on how to carry out terror attacks.  

The man was a member of several restricted pro-DAESH jihadist messaging groups, which have been the main source of threats against Spain.  

The detainee, who was remanded in custody in Algeciras (Andalusia), is said to have downloaded and stored videos and manuals for self-training to commit attacks.  

These tutorials gave detailed information on how to make homemade explosives as well as how to carry out knife and vehicle attacks.  

Police say that, without a regular job, he spent most of his day compulsively accessing social networks in order to download, store and view manuals, pro jihadist videos and disseminate his opinions against the West.  

Then last month in Tenerife (Canary Islands) Guardia Civil arrested a 26-year-old man as the alleged perpetrator of terrorism offences.  

An investigation by the Information Service of the Guardia Civil found that the man, a native of Mauritania, shared various propaganda videos with contents related to terrorism through WhatsApp and the Telegram app. 

The videos showed violent executions, techniques for carrying out attacks and murders, as well as detailed manuals for the manufacture of explosive devices. 

The man also actively sought content with a high level of operational detail, among which are detailed manuals for the manufacture of homemade explosives such as the TATP, a bomb known as ‘Satan’s mother’, as well as methods to carry out mass murder. 


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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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