Inside dangerous European city where machete-wielding gangs are running riot

Spanish police have been confronted by a surge of violent attacks in Madrid, linked to warring Latin gangs. It has been raising concerns about the threat from these groups, with the wave of violence reaching a peak just last month.

In November, a minor was stabbed in the neighbourhood of Tetuán, and two others were attacked in Malasaa. This week a man was attacked in Tetuán with a machete. Police are investigating these incidents as the motives for assaults are thought to be to rob or target members of rival gangs.

In response, Madrid Police have tightened controls, resulting in the seizure of at least a dozen bladed weapons and machetes.

Faced with this increase in street violence involving urban gangs, the Spanish government launched the ‘Hispanic operation’ last year.

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This saw police making efforts to “intensify and reinforce the devices against these gangs,” which resulted in the arrest of 100 gang members.

The operation was carried out in areas such as Usera, Carabanchel, Centro, Ciudad Lineal, and Tetuan, as well as the cities of Alcala de Henares and Torrejon de Ardoz.

The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has urged the government delegate in the region, Francisco Martín, to take “effective measures” in response to recent incidents involving multiple teenagers and youth gangs.

Martínez-Almeida said: “What I hope is that the government delegate stops playing politics in favour of President Sánchez and plays politics in favour of the people of Madrid, and therefore stops being Pedro Sánchez’s envoy to oversee Madrid’s institutions and gets on with the job that really corresponds to him, which is to guarantee safety on the streets.”

He added: “The government delegate has to assume that he works for the people of Madrid and he has to put all the means in place so that, from the police point of view, this type of criminal activity does not happen again.”

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