Rabat - Moroccans who hold top positions at the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), plot terrorist attacks in Morocco, said on Tuesday Interior Minister, Mohamed Hassad.
Rabat – Moroccans who hold top positions at the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), plot terrorist attacks in Morocco, said on Tuesday Interior Minister, Mohamed Hassad.
A total of 1,122 Moroccans are affiliated to terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, together with Moroccan-born European nationals whose number is estimated at some 2,000 persons, the minister said during the question-time session at the House of Representatives, noting that Moroccan authorities investigated 128 Moroccans who returned to Morocco.
These Moroccan fighters hold leadership positions at the ISIL (such as military Emir, Emir of the financial commission, Emir of the Turkman Mountains Zone and Emir of land borders), explained the minister who noted that that these individuals join ISIL ranks, not only to fight but also to undergo trainings in order to carry out attacks against the Kingdom. What is more worrying, he went on, is that these enrolled Moroccans accept to carry out suicide attacks, knowing that 20 Moroccan fighters have already conducted attacks of this type.
Hassad who answered a question from the National Rally of Independents (RNI), Party for justice and development (PJD), Constitutional Union (UC), Istiqlal, popular movement and the Party for Progress and socialism (PPS) stressed that intelligence information revealed the existence of coordination between ISIL and other extremist organizations active in the Sahel and North Africa regions to designate parties that will carry out the terrorist plan in Morocco.
This information also revealed that the terrorist plot against Morocco targeted public interests and personalities, he said, adding “we possess a list of these personalities.”
There are also audio and video recordings broadcast on the Internet of Moroccan fighters threatening terrorist operations against Moroccan public figures, he told representatives.
After surveying counter-terrorism strategies adopted by European and Arab countries, the minister insisted that the Moroccan government’s strategy seeks to protect the Kingdom against the phenomenon of terrorism, by reinforcing the work of the intelligence services and coordination between the competent parties, at the central and local levels as well as overseas.
This proactive policy has helped dismantle rings that were getting ready to conduct terrorist attacks, he pointed out, explaining that the interior ministry’s integrated strategy of vigilance includes coordination between various departments and defining the mission of each department as far as prevention, intervention and repression are concerned.
Hassad further revealed that the walis and governors nationwide have been instructed to reinforce customary counter-terrorism measures and raise the level of controls at airports and ports, as well as in the Kingdom’s eastern provinces.
In this context, he paid tribute to efforts made by the security departments to preserve the country’s security and stability as well as their continuous vigilance to foil any attempt to endanger Morocco’s security.
While we have great confidence in the security services’ capacity to face new terrorist threats, as a result of their competence and dedication, these services are facing, in the discharge of their duties, the behaviors of some domestic associations and entities which are active, under the cover of human rights defense, but do not hesitate to hold unfounded accusations against these services, such as kidnapping, torture, and arbitrary detention, in order to undermine their morale, harm the credibility of the security services’ action and cast doubts over the measures taken.”
The Interior Minister argued that these practices are part of a well-devised campaign serving the interests of some given services through the drafting and presentation of inaccurate reports in order to lead some international organizations and non-governmental organizations to oppose Morocco’s interests, including the Moroccan Sahara issue.
These organizations, he went, receive financial support and other advantages from several foreign sources, he pointed out, noting that funds paid to these organizations exceed by 60pc the funds of political parties.
The Interior Minister assured that Morocco will continue to preserve the margins of freedoms, in accordance with the instructions of King Mohammed VI to deepen the human rights culture and consolidate the state of institutions, adding that the schemes plotted by these Ngos will not at all affect the authorities’ determination to perfect human rights reforms in keeping with the 2011 constitution.
Gains achieved so far exact that we contribute to deepen the democratic option and show vigilance and mobilization to foil all criminal and terrorist attempts seeking to undermine these endeavors, he concluded.
The parliamentary groups stressed the need to reinforce vigilance in various regions, given the increasing number of Moroccans enrolled by this terrorist organization and take preventive measures to confront these terrorist action and terrorism advocacy through the Internet.
They also hailed the security services efforts and called for intensifying coordination among the different departments. Preserving Morocco against terrorist risks needs a scientific, intellectual and political preventive approach in order to carry on the ongoing reforms meant to reinforce freedoms and human rights and fulfill development, democracy and social justice, the MPS said.
They also recommended that political parties, unions and associations should be given more considerable means, noting the importance of conducting awareness-promotion campaigns for citizens with the participation of political parties, unions, the civil society and the media.