Rabat – The Moroccan Ministry of Interior has confirmed that the substances seized during the dismantling of a suspected ISIS terrorist cell operating in Fez and several other Moroccan cities can be used for making explosives.
The ministry stated on Wednesday that the liquids and chemical powders were recovered after police forces stormed a the cell’s safe house in Fez on October 14. The arrested 11 members of the ring planned to make bombs using those chemicals to carry out attacks across the kingdom.
“Forensic tests proved that these chemicals are used to speed up explosions and increase their intensity,” said the ministry.
When members of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), Morocco’s anti-terror bureau, arrested the terrorist cell, they confiscated a number of weapons and “suspicious” materials: guns, live ammunition, butane gas bottles, two straps for making suicide bombs, fire extinguishers, fertilizers, liquids, a thermometer, a metal tube used for making explosives, and bomb-making instructional documents.
The suspected terrorist cell was operating in Fez, Casablanca, Khouribga, Zaouiat Cheikh, Sidi Bennour, Demnat, and Sidi Harazem.
The suspects were going to fill the fire extinguishers with explosive substances and nails and small iron pieces to create a large blast with the biggest potential damage to property and largest possible number of casualties, the interior ministry explained.
The seized butane gas bottles could also have been used to intensify explosions, added the ministry.
Previously, the ministry revealed that the cell’s mastermind, who was arrested in Fez along with one of his companions, had experience in making explosives.
The dismantled cell, according to the ministry, had contacts with an ISIS field commander.
Moroccan security officials related the plans of the dismantled cell with the calls issued by ISIS leaders to the group’s followers “to intensify terrorist attacks outside regions under its control as the grip tightens around it in Syria and Iraq.”