The operation followed the dismantling of a 5-member terror cell for their alleged links to terrorism.
Rabat – Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) dismantled a six-member terror cell on Thursday morning in several cities around the Casablanca area, including Mohammedia, just east of Casablanca; El Jadida, 100 kilometers west of Casablanca on the Atlantic coast; Sidi Bennour, 80 kilometers inland from El Jadida; and Marrakech.
A statement from the Ministry of the Interior announced that BCIJ carried out the arrest in collaboration with the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST).
The ministry said that the six radicalized suspects were aged 27 to 40. One of the suspects had spent time in prison after police arrested him for having links with ISIS terrorists active in Libya.
A preliminary investigation found the suspect had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
The ministry added that the suspect was plotting terror attacks across Morocco.
Police placed all suspects into custody for further investigations.
The operation followed the dismantling of a five-member terror cell in February in Safi, western Morocco.The suspects were aged 21-36.
Morocco’s security services have arrested several alleged terrorists since the beginning of the year, including 13 in January.
The head of the BCIJ, Abdelhak El Khiame, shared some statistics in December 2018 in the wake of the Imlil murders, in which two Scandinavian tourists were murdered near Mount Toubkal.
Khiame estimated that 1,668 Moroccans had joined ISIS and other terror groups in Syria and other conflict zones.
Last Sunday, Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior announced the repatriation of eight Moroccan fighters from Syria.
The ministry described the operation as a “humanitarian” move which would allow the Moroccans to return in safety.
The move pleased the US, one of Morocco’s major partners in counterterrorism.
Morocco “is a highly capable partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” the US State Department said.
Following the 2003 terror attacks in Casablanca and the 2011 attack in Marrakech, the Moroccan security services announced several approaches to deal with terrorism.
One of the programs implemented by the Moroccan government is the “moussalaha” program, or reconciliation. Launched in 2018, the project aims to reintegrate prisoners charged with terrorism.
The program involves human rights and anti-radicalization experts to provide psychological assistance to people convicted of terror crimes.