MADRID: Spanish police have arrested two Brazilian brothers in the southern city of Estepona over alleged links to the Islamic State militant Islamist group, the Civil Guard police force said.
The police said the siblings had been radicalised and had distributed IS propaganda over the internet.
The Civil Guard’s statement on Monday said it had identified “significant international links” between the brothers and individuals arrested or under investigation in European countries related to what it described as “the jihadist threat”.
The arrest comes days after Brazil’s Federal Police, in cooperation with Israel’s Mossad spy agency, took down an alleged cell of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah seeking to establish itself in Latin America’s largest country. Mossad’s unusual trumpeting of its involvement in the operation has strained Brazil-Israel ties.
A Brazilian Federal Police source identified the brothers arrested in Spain as Thaylan Padilha Palomanes and Thauann Padilha Palomanes, requesting anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The Federal Police had been tracking them for a while, the source said, adding that Thauann had lived in the Netherlands before joining his brother Thaylan in Estepona. They were arrested on Monday “for activities related to terrorism,” the source said.
The brothers’ legal representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Civil Guard were assisted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Brazilian police, the Spanish force said.
The brothers have appeared before a judge and are being held in jail while the investigation continues.
Since 2004 train bombings in Madrid carried out by Islamists that killed 191 people, Spanish police have arrested more than 1,000 alleged jihadists, 56 of them in 2023, according to data from the interior ministry.