Rabat - Moroccan authorities have dismantled 168 terrorist cells since the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to Mohamed Moufakir, Wali and Director General of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Rabat – Moroccan authorities have dismantled 168 terrorist cells since the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to Mohamed Moufakir, Wali and Director General of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During a conference entitled “the Fight against Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Mediterranean,” held Thursday in Rabat, Moufakir said that 50 of the 168 dismantled cells had had connection to foreign hotbeds of terrorism, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and the Sahel.
“Moroccan Security Approach in the Fight against Terrorism”
While delivering his speech, entitled “Moroccan Security Approach in the Fight against Terrorism,” Moufakir said that “the dismantling of this number of cells resulted in the arrest of 2,963 suspects and foiling of 341 criminal plans.”
During these operations, Moroccan authorities have confiscated many firearms and explosive materials, according to Moufakir, who went on further to add that authorities have arrested 45 terrorist cells on the suspicion of direct links with groups in “conflict zones, including Syria and Iraq.”
Moroccans in Hotbeds of Tension
According to Moufakir, more than 1,600 Moroccans “went voluntarily to fight in the aforementioned hotbeds of tension.” 147 returned to Morocco, with 132 arrested and referred to court, in addition to the arrest of six people during their attempt to leave Moroccan territory.
Morocco’ Counterterrorism Strategy
Moufakir continued his speech, saying that Moroccan anti-terrorism strategy is based on a comprehensive and proactive approach following “the strength of legal arsenal, the reform of the religious field and the consolidation of the socio-economic development, culture, and human rights, in addition to Morocco’s efforts to cooperate with bilateral counterparts in order to counterattack terrorism.
Moufakir noted that Morocco has strengthened its security cooperation with various partners, including Spain, which has dismantled several terrorist networks recruiting fighters for ISIS.
“Morocco has offered its experience at the disposal of its partners in the Sahara and the Sahel and still Morocco seeks to give a fresh dynamism for cooperation with other countries to counterattack terrorism,” Moufakir said.