Six jihadists suspected to be planning large-scale terrorist attacks in Spain and Morocco have been arrested by authorities.

The terrorists were arrested by authorities from Spain and Morocco less than three weeks after the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils which killed 16 people with vehicles and weapons.

Five of the arrested were Moroccans living in Spain. One, thought to be the leader of the terrorist group, is a Spanish national from Melilla, an area in North Africa which is governed by Spain.

According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, the 39-year-old “used his position as an assistant teacher in a centre for educating minors to carry out recruitment activities and to radicalise young people in a vulnerable situation.

“This type of activity is in line with the global strategy of the so-called Islamic State.”

It was revealed by the Spanish Interior Ministry that the group held nightly meetings where they planned large-scale massacres and simulated murder by decapitation.

From its headquarters in Beni Chikerm, a small town in Nador, Morocco, the terrorists planned a number of executions in Morocco and Spain until they were smashed up by authorities.