Rabat - The most eminent threat to Spain would come with the destabilization of Morocco, Spanish “sources in the fight against terrorism” told ABC on Monday.
Rabat – The most eminent threat to Spain would come with the destabilization of Morocco, Spanish “sources in the fight against terrorism” told ABC on Monday.
The source told the Spanish newspapers that around 200 fighters who have returned to Morocco after operating under the command of the so-called “Islamic State” are of major concern to Spanish forces because of their connections with Cueta, Melilla and Andalusia.
“For Spain, the destabilization of Morocco would be strategically more damaging that an attack like Paris or Brussels,” a senior security official said, noting that cooperation between the neighboring states “good” and that vigilance is at a “maximum.”
The next-most dangerous threat to the Iberian country comes from “chaotic” Libya, the official said. The “enormous concern” stems from the navigateable distance between southern Italy and the Libyan coastal cities of Tripoli and Sirte in the Mediterranean Sea.
Last July, the Moroccan interior ministry provided data to the parliament, which said 1,220 Moroccans had traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS, while more than 2,000 Europeans with the same goal continued their journey through the North African country.
Collaboration between Spanish security forces and Moroccan ones has continued since the report, as agents of both countries jointly work to raid and dismantle terrorist threats.
Antiterrorist activity intensified in Morocco after March 25, 2015 – the day Rabat announced its participation in the Saudi Arabia-led raids against the Yemeni rebel coalition.
Since then, King Mohammed VI has advocated moderation and deployed more than 50,000 imams in mosques to counter extremist propaganda.
However, “sleeper cells”, which include members who do not plan on going to the war zones, still relegate Spain to a place of vulnerability.
Over the course of the past year, Moroccan forces have dismantled cells consisting of anywhere from one to 13 members in Berkan and Seluane, on the shores of the Mediterranean, as well as other cities towards the center of the country.
Some of the groups had plans to hijack official Moroccan security forces to carry out their operations, which is why, the official said, Spain, needs to not only to monitor the entry of individuals from nearby countries that may pose a threat, but also to understand that they are “already here.”