MORE than 1,200 men and women from the National Police and the Guardia Civil are making sure Spain stays safe by specialising in the fight against Islamic terrorism. They are involved full time in finding, identifying and apprehending Islamic extremists.
After the horrendous Al Qaeda 2004 attacks in Madrid, known in Spain as 11-M, in which explosions in different train stations killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800, the Spanish security services started adding specialists in their fight against this specific form of terrorism.
Previously, Spain had mostly dealt with attacks by ETA, an armed Basque separatist group who in 2012 announced an end to their operations. Though the fight is not the same, the experience has helped Spain to quickly learn and understand this new terrorist threat.
According to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, security services have confirmed there have been numerous phone-tapping operations authorised against radicalising suspects. At the moment around 160 telephones are being tapped. Apart from listening in on conversations, the Spanish National Centre of Intelligence has boosted its presence in areas where they believe is a higher chance of Islamic terrorism.
The increased vigilance and specialisation is said to have already brought big results, not only for Spanish intelligence services but also for other European nations.