Spanish judges on Friday jailed 11 terrorists for membership in a gang linked to extremists of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) that recruited gunmen for suicide bombings in Syria.
The men were all handed sentences of between 10 and 12 years after the judges found them guilty of sending “numerous jihadists to Syria”, several of whom died in suicide attacks, a statement from Madrid’s National Court said.
Based in Spain’s North African enclave Ceuta, they sent at least 28 people to Syria between April 2012 and June 2013, when they were arrested, the court said.
At least eight of their recruits lost their lives in “terrorist acts… in which hundreds of people died”.
The court handed 12-year sentences to Karim Abdeselam Mohamed and Ismail Abdellatif Al-Lal both of whom were convicted of leading a “terrorist organization.” The others were each sentenced to 10 years of prison after being convicted of belonging to the gang.
The court said the sentences were justified by “the radicalization and danger posed by them all and the seriousness of the actions carried out by the cell that they voluntarily joined”.
More than 100 people from Spain are suspected of having joined terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria and authorities fear they may return to launch attacks.
In a major crackdown on terrorist cells, including those operating online, Spanish police have arrested scores of suspected recruiters in recent years.