Former EU Parliament Deputy President Alejo Vidal-Quadras addresses a press conference on his recovery in Madrid, Spain, 23 February 2024. EPA-EFE/Mariscal


Dutch police arrest suspect over shooting of Spain’s Vox party co-founder


Police have arrested a 38-year-old man suspected of the attempted murder of the Spanish politician and co-founder of the right-wing populist party Vox, Alejo Vidal-Quadras.

The suspect, said to be a Frenchman of Tunisian origin, was picked up in the Dutch city of Haarlem. He had been subject to an international arrest warrant issued by Spain.

Spanish media reported on June 19 that the arrest was made on June 6.

The suspect, who was named only as “Ayari”, was allegedly about to commit another suspected attack with “political connotations”.

He was identified via security cameras close to where the attack took place on Vidal-Quadras in Madrid in early November last year.

It was reported that he belonged to the Mocro Maffia, a Europe-wide criminal organisation, and allegedly acted on behalf of the Iranian regime.

Ayari was already known to the French police in a suspected connection with a separate murder and drug trafficking.

Le Monde reported that the French officers who were handling that case had searched his family home two days before the Madrid attack.

They also tapped his brother’s mobile phone.

After the shooting, Vidal-Quadras immediately accused the Tehran regime of “plotting and executing” the attempted murder.

“They shot me in the face to kill me, but I miraculously survived,” he wrote in a letter sent to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group, from his hospital bed.

Ayari’s arrest marks the sixth under the investigation carried out by the Spanish police.

They were made in the Netherlands, Spain and Colombia. Spanish newspaper ABC claimed more people were involved and more arrests were expected.

The US and British governments are said to believe the Iranian regime has used organised crime operators, such as drug traffickers, to target its opposition abroad via murders and kidnappings.

Spanish Intelligence services have expressed concern that organised crime is now becoming a major threat to national security. They said the murder of a defective Russian helicopter pilot in Spain might also fit that pattern, according to press reports.