A 22-year-old Spanish woman suspected of trying to reach Syria to join Islamist extremists was arrested on Tuesday at Madrid airport before boarding a flight to Turkey, police said.


The woman is originally from the southwestern province of Huelva and had converted «to the most extreme form of Islam and allegedly maintained contact with radical elements», they said in a statement.

«The woman had planned to travel to Turkey and then go to Syria to join the ranks of Daesh,» police added, using the Arabic name for the Islamic State group.

She was the latest of several suspected female IS sympathizers detained in Spain since last year over security concerns.

In September police arrested an 18-year-old Moroccan woman accused of preparing to travel to Syria to join the group, and in July a woman was arrested in the Canary Islands accused of recruiting young girls and facilitating their passage to areas controlled by IS.

Like other European nations, Spain has made clamping down on radicalized Islamist cells a priority, but it has been unable to stem the flow of people out of the country to join IS in Syria and Iraq.

It estimates that around 100 nationals have joined jihadist fighters in the two countries, a lower number than those from Britain, France and Germany.

Officials fear they may return to launch attacks on Spanish soil. In March 2004, Al-Qaeda-inspired bombers blew up four packed commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people.