There has a been a surge in terrorism threats since the Imlil murder of late last year, but Morocco’s “unique” anti-terrorism approach has so far prevailed.
Rabat – Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) dismantled a five-member terrorist cell on Friday morning in Safi, a city located in Western Morocco. The cell included a former detainee jailed for his involvement in terror-related charges with ISIS.
The suspects are aged between 21-36, Morocco’s Ministry of Interior said in a statement.
The BCIJ seized several electronic devices and knives, in addition to radicalized scripts, added the statement.
Investigations by the Security services found that the suspects pledged allegiance to ISIS and were planning to join fighters in Syrian and Iraqi combat zones.
The suspects were also planning terror plots to undermine security and security and the the country.
According to the ministry, one of the suspects “attempted to exploit his presence in a sub-Saharan country to obtain sponsors to join a group affiliated to ISIS, which is active in the Sahel region.
Police have put the suspects in custody for further investigations to determine possible suspects with possible links to ISIS.
Since December 2018, BCIJ has arrested 918 people for terror-related crimes, including 14 women and 29 minors. Head of BCIJ Abdelhak El Khiame noted that 98 percent of the people arrested in Morocco in terror-related cases are Moroccans.
The number of terror cells and suspects for terror-related crimes has increased in Morocco. BCIJ has been especially active in the first two months of 2019, arresting a number of Isis-linked terrorism suspects between January and February.
In January, the bureau dismantled a 13-member terror cell for their alleged ISIS ties.
Morocco’s BCIJ is also known for its international outreach, working in cooperation with several countries, including France and Spain.
During his participation in the foreign ministerial meeting for the Coalition to Defeat ISIS held in Washington in February, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said that Morocco is putting in place a unique approach to fight violent extremism.
Bourita also warned against the presence of ISIS affiliated groups in more than 20 countries across the world, including North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.