BARCELONA – Spanish law enforcement authorities have arrested a man in Terrasa, Barcelona. He is suspected of disseminating jihadist ideologies and promoting hate and violence through social media channels.
The arrest followed an extensive investigation conducted by the Policia Nacional, in collaboration with international partners, targeting an individual who had amassed a significant online following for his extremist content.
The suspect, whose identity has not been disclosed, was apprehended on charges related to the glorification of terrorism, indoctrination, and hate speech. He allegedly used social media profiles to incite Muslims in Europe to engage in jihad, aiming to impose Sharia law. His online activities included continuous hate speech against the Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities. Furthermore, he had gained notoriety for threatening to harm those he perceived as enemies of Islam.
The investigation began late 2022, with support from the Directorate General of Territorial Security of the Kingdom of Morocco (DGST).
400,000 followers and 4,000,000 likes
The suspect had a substantial online presence, boasting nearly 400,000 followers and accumulating almost 4,000,000 “likes” on his posts. His content, which included explicit calls for jihadist actions in Europe, particularly in Spain, garnered widespread attention. His messages were marked by a radical and violent ideology, advocating armed struggle and endorsing specific terrorist activities.
The investigation revealed that the suspect had internalised radical jihadist beliefs, using social media platforms to endorse armed jihad explicitly. He frequently posted content encouraging acts of terrorism in Europe, often citing historical events like the loss of Al-Andalus and praising attacks, such as the one that occurred in Algeciras on January 25.
Furthermore, the individual targeted specific communities with his hate speech, particularly the LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities. He went as far as issuing direct threats to other social media users who criticised his extremist views. Over time, his messages gained traction, amassing followers and “likes” on his posts, indicating the alarming reach of his online propaganda.
Arrest and seizure
In the days leading up to his arrest, the suspect had escalated his efforts to incite violence, actively seeking weapons and bulletproof vests. Consequently, law enforcement launched a well-coordinated operation, culminating in the suspect’s arrest. During the operation, police officers conducted a search of his residence, seizing numerous pieces of evidence, including digital devices and informational materials.
The arrested individual is remanded in custody.