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Spain arrests three accused of connections to Islamist militants

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police have arrested three people accused of connections with Islamist militants, the Interior Ministry said on Friday, two in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta and a third in the northern town of Figueras.

The two detained had been through a long radicalisation process and formed part of a group which was thought to be at an advanced stage of preparation for potential attacks, it said.

Police, searching six locations in relation to the arrests, found one gun and three non-firing weapons, the ministry said, though it did not elaborate.

Separately, the ministry said later on Friday that police had detained a Moroccan man with Dutch papers accused of belonging to Islamic State and who may have returned to Spain from a conflict zone within the last couple of days.

The man was arrested through cooperation with Dutch and other authorities that had monitored his movements as he traveled from Turkey to Spain, the ministry said.

Spanish police have arrested 181 people accused of connections to Islamist militant groups since raising the country-wide security alert to one below the highest level in 2015.

(Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Toby Chopra and Hugh Lawson)