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Spain arrests Ceuta man accused of sending fighters to Syria

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain arrested a man in its North African enclave of Ceuta on Monday accused of recruiting fighters for rebel groups in Syria's civil war, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Spanish authorities said the man led a group that has sent dozens of people to Syria, including minors, from Ceuta and cities around Morocco.

"His name is Yassin Ahmed Laarbi, who was a fugitive and wanted by the High Court for belonging to a terrorist organization," the statement said.

Spain arrested eight members of the group in June in Ceuta. Laarbi eluded capture at the time.

Spanish officials accused the group of sending fighters to an arm of al Qaeda in Syria and said some of the recruits took part in suicide attacks and others had joined training camps.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict since March 2011.

Islamist fighters, including veterans of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Libya, have joined the rebels with the aim of toppling President Bashar al-Assad.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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