One of the two people held last Friday leaves the abandoned building in Malaga after a few hours inside with the Guardia Civil. / SALVADOR SALAS

Man held over Islamic terrorism support had upped radical activity

A second man was also arrested but later released in the Guardia Civil raid of an abandoned building in the Lagunillas area of central Malaga last Friday

J. CANO / F. TORRES MALAGA.

One of the two men held in a dramatic antiterrorist raid in an inner-city district of Malaga last Friday (22 October) is a radical who had tried to buy weapons and had been praising the Islamic State on social media, sources close to the inquiry have said.

Guardia Civil officers had been investigating the young man since last year; he had been seen coming and going recently by locals in the city's Lagunillas area, not far from the historic Plaza de la Merced. He has also been linked to "radical circles" in the Spanish North African city of Melilla.

Two men were originally arrested in the raid on Friday afternoon. Locals told of how a large contingent of armed plain clothes and uniformed Guardia Civil officers had silently taken up position in the multiracial neighbourhood before moving into the rundown building to begin searching and make their arrests. One of the suspects was however subsequently released.

According to the inquiry, the one man kept in custody had "undergone a process of radicalisation as a jihadist and increased posts made on social media".

This included "audiovisual content centred on graphics and images in praise of jihadist causes and of imprisoned or arrested terrorists, as well as imagery and symbols associated with the Daesh terrorist organisation," said the Guardia Civil.

Recent move to Malaga

In the last few weeks, the number of his posts had increased, "with repeated content inciting war and violence", coinciding with him physically moving from Melilla - where he lived before - to Malaga province. For the last few months he had been staying in the abandoned building in Lagunillas that has now been sealed under a court order.

It was not clear if the second person, now released, is still being investigated or not.

The Guardia Civil has said that the arrest shows the "close link" between jihad terrorism and common criminal environments; the detained man had police records, including for trying to acquire weapons, they said.

Officers said that it is one of the antiterrorist investigations where they have seized the most amount of "propaganda material" in recent years.