Rabat - The head of Morocco's anti-terrorism bureau, Abdelhak El Khiam, has criticized the Spanish police following last week’s attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.
Rabat – The head of Morocco’s anti-terrorism bureau, Abdelhak El Khiam, has criticized the Spanish police following last week’s attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.
“How is it possible that the Spanish police had not noticed anything? ”asked the director of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) in an interview with the Spanish press agency EFE, referring to the suspects who planned and carried out the deadly attacks on August 17 after becoming radicalized.
“How come the mosque in Ripoll didn’t attract attention? Were the imams not controlled? And I who thought that our Spanish friends understood many things after the Madrid attacks in 2004,” added El Khiam.
The suspects behind the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks, the Moroccan security official affirmed, grew up in Spain and therefore should have been immune from radicalization.
However, El Khiam suggested that lack of control over mosques, coupled with marginalization, is one of the main reasons youth turn to extremist ideologies. In Morocco, he noted, things are different, as the reform of the religious field, including tight control over sermons, have led to “the disappearance of anarchist mosques.”
As for the 1,600 Moroccans who are believed to have joined Islamist armed groups in Syria and Iraq, El Khiam said these people were radicalized mainly through the internet.
Meanwhile, the BCIJ head revealed that Moroccan security services had arrested three suspects in relation with the attacks in Spain.
While two of the three were released, the third person is still under detention. Investigations revealed so far that he did not have a direct connection with the attack, but he praised on social media.
The man in question, who lived in Spain for ten years, leading a life away from Islam before turning to extremist ideas, was arrested in Nador. During investigations, he confessed that he had been planning an attack onthe Spanish embassy in Rabat.