Spain intercepted a massive shipment of military equipment destined for the Islamic State and Nusra Front terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, the country's interior ministry announced Thursday.
The items, including 20,000 uniforms, were split into three packages that weighed a total of 11,000 pounds, Spanish authorities noted. The shipments were seized at the port cities of Valencia, in eastern Spain, and Algeciras, located in southern Spain next to the Strait of Gibraltar that connects the country to northern Africa.
The Interior Ministry noted that the delivery was so large, it would have been able to equip an entire army to fight in any of the jihadist organizations' battlegrounds around the world.
The packages were labeled "second-hand clothes" to avoid suspicion while going through customs, Spain added. The uniforms had also been packaged among other pieces of clothing so they would be camouflaged.
An Interior Ministry spokesman told The New York Times that the uniforms were not made in Spain and that further investigations are ongoing.
Authorities have linked this case to the Feb. 7 arrest of seven people for supplying Islamic State and Nusra Front militants with weapons, explosive materials, money and technological equipment. Police said the suspects, arrested in the cities of Alicante, Valencia and Ceuta, were part of a criminal network that had made multiple shipments to Syria and Iraq while posing as a humanitarian organization.
Even in Spain, located over 3,000 miles from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, terror groups like the Islamic State and the Nusra Front are getting support for their operations. Spain has arrested at least 83 people with suspected links to Islamist terrorist organizations since 2015, according to the Interior Ministry.
Experts believe that some 30,000 foreigners have entered Syria and Iraq to join militant groups since 2011. One study by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, a London-based think tank, estimated last January that almost 4,000 foreign recruits were from Western Europe.