Benahavís jihadi fighter was trying to get hold of weapons

Samsam’s social media activity showed his terrorist links.
Samsam’s social media activity showed his terrorist links. / Twitter
  • Ahmed Samsam, a 29-year-old Danish national, was held in custody last week over his links to so-called Islamic State amid fears he was planning an attack

Police continue to search for clues as to what a “dangerous” jihadist found on the Costa del Sol may have been planning.

Ahmed Samsam, 29, who was arrested in Benahavís last week, had been looking for ways to buy weapons and bullet proof vests in Spain before capture, government officials have said.

Samsam, of Syrian origin, was held in a hotel in the municipality, having been tracked down by Guardia Civil officers. He appeared in court in Madrid last Monday and was remanded in custody. The case is subject to a secrecy order.

Trained in Syria

Samsam travelled to Syria from his home in Denmark in recent years and joined the ranks of so-called Islamic State, fighting in the war there.

His arrest in Spain came as a result of a joint operation between the investigating court, the prosecutor’s office and the Guardia Civil. Their investigations led them to the hotel in Benahavís, but Samsam’s intentions in Spain are still unclear.

What is clear, say investigators, is that he was trained by ISIS in Syria, judging by his activity on social media, and that he engaged in recruitment and the spread of propaganda.

Investigators will continue to try to determine whether he was part of a wider network operating in Spain.

Born in Odense (Denmark), where his father arrived as a refugee in the 1980s, Samsam had a history of petty crime and, after turning 15, spent time behind bars on various occasions. However, on being released in 2012, he headed to Turkey before passing through to Syria where he was a member of a number of terror groups, including ISIS, alongside his brother Hamza.

On the Costa for two weeks

The pair returned to Denmark in 2015, where Hamza was killed, and since then, Samsam has quickly moved from place to place to avoid being held in Denmark. He had been on the Costa del Sol for a couple of weeks before he was arrested on 30 June.

Counter terrorism experts had been following Samsam’s movements in Spain closely before he was tracked to the Benahavís hotel, however he was expertly using techniques to evade capture, the Guardia Civil has said.

Since 26 June 2015, when the Ministry of the Interior raised its terror threat level to four, Spanish intelligence forces have arrested some 179 jihadi terrorists in Spain and a total of 224 abroad since the start of 2015.