MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police have arrested a suspected al Qaeda member on charges of broadcasting videos on the Internet to incite militant attacks, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
A ministry statement said police arrested the man, identified as “M.H.A.”, in the eastern city of Valencia after an investigation launched in February 2011.
Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez said the man was suspected of working with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as well as al Qaeda North African branch al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM).
“He was known in the heart of the terrorist organisation as ‘al Qaeda’s librarian’,” Fernandez told a news conference.
Fernandez said the suspect worked full-time from home to recruit potential extremists and arrange for them to travel to Afghanistan, as did an al Qaeda-inspired gunman who went on a killing spree in France last week.
“The training of people like Mohamed Merah, the Jihadist killer in Toulouse, arose through acts with such characteristics,” Fernandez said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week France would make it a crime to consult websites that advocate terrorism or hate crimes and would toughen a crackdown on people who went abroad for ideological indoctrination.
Islamist militants killed 191 people in co-ordinated bombings on commuter trains in Madrid in 2004.
Reporting by Blanca Rodriguez and Edgar Aribau; Writing by Martin Roberts