Rabat - A joint investigation conducted by the Judicial Police and the General Directorate for National Territorial Surveillance (DGST) led to the arrest of two Syrian nationals on March 21, one of whom had reportedly been transferring funds to Moroccan ISIS fighters in Syria.
The March 21 arrests of the two Syrians took place in Sefrou and Mohammadia. According to a statement by the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), the suspect, who has been charged with funding criminal activities, had established a bank account in Morocco at the disposal of a money transfer agency in Syria in order to transfer and receive money.
Authorities also announced the arrest of two Moroccans, one from Casablanca and one from Taounate, for being involved in transferring money to the same Syrian suspect in 2017 and 2018, added the DGSN statement.
The second Syrian suspect arrested on March 21 was also receiving suspicious sums of money in his personal bank account.
Recently, the Moroccan counterterrorism bureau (BCIJ) dismantled a nine-member terror cell in Oued Zem and Tangier. The suspects were plotting to use a deserted property owned by one of the detainees in order to manufacture bombs and explosive devices, with the greater view to undermining stability in the country by attacking public institutions and police forces.
During their arrest, the BCIJ seized an illegal shotgun, ammunition, several knives, paramilitary clothing, computer equipment and ISIS-related propaganda documents.
The head of BCIJ Abdelhak Khiame said that Morocco’s security strategy has resulted in a dramatic decline in the number of terror cells operating in the country. According to Khiame, the number of terror cells dismantled in Morocco declined from 21 in 2015 to 19 in 2016, adding that those two years marked a period of significant expansion in active ISIS-related terror cells all over the world.
The BCIJ boss, however, did not deny that the risk of terrorism is still present in Morocco. Referring to Moroccan ISIS members, Khiame said that 1,668 Moroccans have joined ISIS since 2014, some of whom fought in battles against coalition forces. Khiame said that Moroccan ISIS fighters are known to “our services and will be arrested if they try to return to the country.”