Last night, on the 3rd July 2017, an individual was arrested in Madrid (Spain) on suspicion of radicalisation and for dissemination of jihadist terrorist propaganda via the internet. The investigation which was supported by Europol for more than a year was led by the Spanish Guardia Civil.
The arrested person, of Moroccan origin and a resident in Spain, used his computer know-how to anonymously access radical jihadist content that is considered difficult to find by an average Internet user. Whilst under surveillance, he had shown a high level of radicalization in his closed circle, and demonstrated a full adherence to the postulates of terrorist groups, fully justifying their violent actions.
During the action days, two experts from Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre were deployed to Madrid (Spain) to provide on-the-spot support. This enabled real-time information exchange, and cross-checks of the data gathered against Europol’s databases.
The following video shows the moment when Guardia Civil officers, supported by Europol’s counter terrorism experts, entered the suspect’s premises to gather further evidence of his radical online activity.
Online terrorist propaganda
According to Europol’s 2017 EU Terrorism Situation & Trend Report (TE-SAT), in 2016 terrorist propaganda was spread primarily through social media platforms and file sharing sites. Encryption and anonymisation technologies freely available online, and a multitude of platforms, enable terrorists to spread propaganda while maintaining their anonymity.