Rebel fighters gather in a street of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on January 7, 2014
Rebel fighters gather in a street of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on January 7, 2014 © Mohammed Wesam - AMC/AFP
Rebel fighters gather in a street of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on January 7, 2014
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AFP
Last updated: January 7, 2014

Suspected Al-Qaeda Syria militant remanded in custody in Spain

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A Spanish judge on Tuesday remanded in custody a man suspected of belonging to an Al-Qaeda linked militant group taking part in the Syrian conflict.

The judge ordered Abdelwahid Sadik Mohamed, 28, to be held in custody while he is investigated for the suspected crime of membership of a terrorist organisation because of the risk that he would flee or try to destroy evidence, according to a written ruling from the National Court.

Police arrested Mohamed, who was born in the north African Spanish territory of Ceuta, which borders Morocco, on Sunday at the airport in Malaga, southern Spain, where he had arrived on a flight from Istanbul.

He is suspected of having trained in Syria in a camp belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a jihadist faction in Syria with roots in Al-Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate.

Spain's interior ministry said he was arrested because he was considered a threat to national security.

"Abdelwahid Sadik Mohamed is the first known case of a jihadist who returned to Spain after having received military training, religious indoctrination and having received combat experience during several months in Syria and Iraq," the ruling from the National Court said.

Mohamed left Ceuta for Morocco at the end of April and on May 1 he flew from Casablanca to Turkey, from where he crossed the border into Syria.

He attended a training camp near the northern city of Aleppo, according to the National Court.

Spanish authorities suspect Mohamed was part of a Spanish-Moroccan group suspected of sending dozens of fighters to Syria from Ceuta.

Spanish police said last year they had arrested several members of that group, which they believe sent some militants to Syria to carry out suicide bombings.

They arrested the leader of that group, Spanish national Yassin Ahmed Laarbi, in September after seizing eight other members in June.

EU governments say hundreds of young Europeans are believed to be fighting alongside rebels in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.

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