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Arrest in Canary prison as part of terrorist plots behind bars 

Police in Spain have identified a network of terrorist supporters operating from prison in the first-ever operation of its kind in Europe.

Despite being behind bars, at least 25 prisoners are being linked to the organised gang which managed to spread its message to other inmates in at least 17 prisons.

One of the arrests took place in the prison of Las Palmas II, in Juan Grande (Gran Canaria).

Some of the prisoners under investigation had a previous record of crimes of jihadist terrorism but others were persuaded to join the cause during their sentence.

Police said the terrorist supporters in prison struck up friendships with their potential targets. They also singled out prisoners who were not subject to special surveillance to get round constant monitoring.

“The group was made up of several facilitators, who not only engaged in capturing inmates from the DAESH orbit, but also sought to unite prisoners imprisoned for terrorist crimes,” said the Civil Guard.

“In this way, they intended to forge the embryo of what could be considered a jihadist “Front of Prisons”. This highlights that, most of the individuals investigated, far from achieving the objectives of social reinsertion, have remained active in the jihadist militancy, increasing their radicalization process during their stay in prison.”

It is believed their activities could be linked to the jihadist attacks inside the French prison of Osny in 2016, in which an inmate attacked several prison officers, and in 2018 in Liege (Belgium) when, during a prison permit, a radicalised inmate murdered two policemen and a civilian.

Police said the very existence of the group was regarded as a potential security risk, even more so as some of the prisoners being investigated were due for immiment release.

The 17 prisons involved represent just over half of the centres housing suspects linked to jihadist terrorism.