Spanish police arrest Hamas supporter accused of inciting violence against Jews


(JTA) — Police in Spain arrested a young Arab woman whom they said called for violence against Jews online and was flagged gathering intelligence about Israel’s embassy in Madrid.

The 23-year-old woman, who is a Moroccan citizen of Syrian and Palestinian descent, was arrested this week in Zaragoza, 170 miles northeast of the capital, for hate speech and incitement to violence, police sources told the ABC newspaper. The paper’s article Wednesday about the arrest did not identify the suspect by name.

According to ABC, police flagged the woman in 2016 after noticing her several times near the embassy in Madrid, including in the presence of unidentified men. Police reportedly followed the woman and discovered her identity, leading counterterrorist researchers to monitor her activities online.

On Facebook, where the woman moderated one anti-Israel group with more than 2,000 subscribers, the researchers documented the suspect praising Hamas and speaking favorably about the murder of Jews, leading to her arrest.

Across Western Europe, authorities have increased their vigilance of hate speech against Jews following several jihadist attacks against Jewish targets in France, where in January 2015 a jihadist killed four Jews at a Paris kosher store, and Belgium, where four people were murdered the previous year in an armed attack at the Jewish Museum of Brussels.

Last week, French police arrested a man in Marseille, France, Nacer Bendrer, on suspicion that he acted as an accomplice to the Frenchman currently on trial in Belgium for the museum killing, the RTL broadcaster reported. The defendant, Mehdi Nemouche, has denied any involvement in the killings. Bendrer was arrested and released in 2014 following the attack but has been taken into custody again recently, the report said.

Separately, last week the Spanish pro-Israel group ACOM announced it has launched a lawsuit for racial discrimination against the municipality of Ayamonte, 300 miles southwest of Madrid, over the passing at the Ayamonte city council on May 25 of a motion declaring support for the Boycott, Divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

Spanish courts, including high courts, have passed rulings against more than a dozen Spanish municipalities over the past two years over similar motions, which the judiciary has deemed discriminatory and illegal.

This development has caused several municipalities either to reverse motions already passed in favor of the boycott, or vote against approving drafts brought to a vote.

On May 29, the city council of the municipality of Santa Colona de Gramenet near Barcelona voted against a draft resolution favoring a boycott, ACOM said in a statement last week. Another draft motion expressing solidarity with Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails failed to pass in the council of Cueta, one of Spain’s autonomous regions.

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