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Spain arrests 16 suspected in terror case

MADRID -- Spanish police arrested 16 people yesterday on suspicion of recruiting volunteers to fight in Iraq and other countries.

The Interior Ministry said computer material, jihadist propaganda, and several mobile phones were seized during pre-dawn raids. No arms or explosives were discovered.

The 16 are accused of spreading propaganda advocating jihad, or holy war, and sending volunteer fighters to groups operating in north Africa and countries in conflict such as Iraq, a ministry statement said.

A National Police spokesman said security forces had been watching the suspects for months.

The statement said yesterday's operation was connected to one in January 2006 in which 22 people were arrested in raids against recruitment cells across Spain.

Al Qaeda has frequently claimed that it intends to recover "al-Andalus," a reference to the vast area of Spain ruled by the Moors for 800 years until 1492.

Fourteen of the 16 arrested were Moroccan and two were from Algeria, the ministry said.

Thirteen of the suspects were arrested in Barcelona and two other towns in the northeastern region of Catalonia. Two suspects were arrested in the central town of Aranjuez, and one in the southern city of Malaga, the Interior Ministry said.