MADRID, Spain (CNN) — Spanish police have arrested 15 suspected Islamic terrorists believed to be supporting attacks on American forces and their allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry and an anti-terrorism official.
The suspects — 13 Moroccans and two Algerians — are thought to be involved in the recruiting, training and financing of terrorists from North Africa to be sent to fight Western forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the official and a statement from the ministry.
Most of the suspects were arrested Monday morning in Barcelona and the nearby towns of Badalona, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Igualada and Mataro, in northeastern Spain.
Two others were detained in Aranjuez, a town about an hour south of Madrid and another suspect was arrested in the southern coastal city of Malaga, the official said.
Police seized computers, cell phones, books, agendas and “documentation linked to Islamic jihad,” the ministry statement said.
Authorities provided only the initials of the suspects, not their full names. They range in age from about 20 to 39 years old, the ministry said.
The latest arrests follow detentions several months ago in Spain of 22 other suspects wanted for similar charges of recruiting and logistical support for jihadi terrorist cells, the ministry said.
Spain has arrested more than 100 suspected Islamic terrorists since the Madrid train bombings in March 2004 that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800.
Most of the arrests since then have been related to the train bombings, but there have also been detentions for a plot to blow up the Madrid courthouse, where terrorism trials are held, and those suspected of recruiting and training terrorists to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most of the Islamic terror suspects arrested nationwide have been of Moroccan or Algerian origin. Sometimes they have had residency permits and have lived in Spain for months or years before their arrests.
The trial of 29 defendants in the train bombings is now in its fourth month. Most of them are accused Islamic terrorists, including many Moroccans. There are also nine Spaniards on trial for providing the explosives used in the attacks. The trial is expected to conclude this summer, with a verdict due next autumn.