Suspected leader of Islamic militant cell arrested in Spain
September 17, 2013 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Yassin Ahmed Laarbi, a Spaniard, was arrested in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Morocco's north coast.
- Eight other suspected colleagues were arrested in June
- Suspected leader of cell taken into custody in Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Morocco coast
- Suspects have sent fighters into Syria, court order says
Read a version of this story in Arabic.
Madrid (CNN) -- The alleged leader of an Islamic militant cell in Spain who escaped arrest in June when eight of his suspected colleagues were detained has been taken into custody, the Spanish Interior Ministry said Monday.
The suspect, Yassin Ahmed Laarbi, a Spaniard, was arrested Monday in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Morocco's north coast, where the eight other suspects also were detained on June 21, an Interior Ministry statement said.
The suspected cell was "a structure based in Spain, with connections in Morocco, Belgium, Turkey and Syria, dedicated to radicalizing, recruiting and sending mujahedeen (fighters) to Syria with the aim of conducting jihad and achieving martyrdom," according to a court order issued in June.
In that order, Judge Ismael Moreno of Spain's National Court ruled that the eight suspected Islamic militants should remain in prison on preliminary charges alleging membership in a terrorist group.
The group has connections to the Jabhat al-Nusra front, described as an active al Qaeda group in and around Syria, and to the Iraq Islamic State in Iraq, but "there are increasing references to carrying out jihad at home," the judge warned at the time, referring to potential attacks in Spain.
Read more: Spain arrests suspects linked to al Qaeda
The eight suspects sent at least 12 Spanish or Moroccan males, from both Ceuta and Morocco, to fight in Syria, the judge wrote. At least five died in suicide attacks in Syria that caused numerous casualties. One of the males was a minor; it was not immediately clear if he was among those who had died.
Some of the eight suspects intended to go to Syria, the judge added.
Monday's Interior Ministry statement said that Laarbi also "was a candidate to join up with those terrorist groups in Syria."
He was not at his home June 21 when the other suspects were arrested, the statement said.
The judge's order in June identified the suspected leader as Spaniard Karin Abdeselam Mohamed, 39.
But the Interior Ministry statement on Monday said Laarbi was the "suspected maximum leader" of the cell.
Spanish police in June said the suspected cell was based in Ceuta and in the nearby Moroccan city of Fnideq. Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain that borders Morocco.
Part of complete coverage on
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT)
April 27, 1994: Nelson Mandela's crowning moment and the day South Africa held its first elections for citizens of every race.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Mohammed Jamjoon interviews the American performer who stunned the Arab world by singing in Arabic.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1532 GMT (2332 HKT)
"Sometimes it just takes one incident to galvanize a society," says CNN's Sumnima Udas.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Drones hover like a bee, flap like a bird and bounce like a ball. These awesome flying robots are taking unmanned flight in new directions.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
The mysterious "catacomb saints" were venerated by the Catholic Church and encrusted with gold and jewels -- before disappearing for centuries.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
A report in 1972 made the initial connection between cannabis and gynecomastia, otherwise known as "man boobs."
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
The KAZA conservation area is working to make it easier to cross borders.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1256 GMT (2056 HKT)
He started his first business venture with capital of just $200 but today, he is one of Liberia's most prominent businessmen.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
North Korea is showing no signs of scaling back its fearsome labor camp system, says human rights group Amnesty International.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0545 GMT (1345 HKT)
A yellow jumpsuit worn by martial arts legend Bruce Lee in one of his final fight scenes goes on sale in Hong Kong on Thursday.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1051 GMT (1851 HKT)
Meet 24-year-old Marita Cheng: the talented technician bringing robots to your home.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Japanese blogger Keisuke Jinushi started the "hitori date" (one-man date) blog two years ago.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
Even by the standards of supercars, the Porsche Carrera GT is something remarkable.
Today's five most popular stories