Based on leaked information, a Spanish news outlet said Morocco and Spain are investigating possible “fledgling” terrorist cell in Seville, following the interrogation of a Moroccan terrorist suspect.
Rabat – Moroccan and Spanish police are investigating more terrorist suspects connected to a foiled plot to attack Seville during Holy Week.
Moroccan police arrested Zouhair Bouhdidi, suspected of planning the attack, in Casablanca on April 9. Although Spain had been tracking the 23-year-old, who studies at the University of Seville, Spanish police had not ordered his arrest there but only requested it after Bouhdidi traveled to Morocco, according to Spanish outlet ABC.
Following Moroccan interrogations of Bouhdidi, Morocco gave Spain information that Bouhdidi revealed names related to a fledgling terrorist cell in Seville, according to a source of the Spanish news outlet.
The interrogations of Bouhdidi led to Spain’s arrest, on April 20, of another University of Seville student, Salah Eddine T.M., 21, a friend of Bouhdidi. Spanish police released T.M. on probation on April 23 but confiscated his passport.
The Spanish government also closed T.M.’s Facebook account upon his arrest after it had been set to public, reportedly showing his love for sport and his country of origin, Morocco, according to one Moroccan outlet.
According to Huffpost, Bouhdidi is the son of an imam, Abderrahim Bouhdidi, who is in charge of a mosque in Seville.
Bouhdidi and T.M. visited Morocco during April, when Morocco arrested Bouhdidi, but T.M. was able to return to Spain, according to ABC’s information.
The information also said Bouhdidi was in touch with an ISIS leader in a conflict zone via social media.
The Spanish outlet EFE reported that Bouhdidi was planning a “lone wolf” attack until an ISIS leading figure asked him not to. The figure asked Bouhdidi to wait and form a terrorist cell to act on orders from ISIS.
The Spanish authorities arrested 58 terrorists in Spain in 2018, marking the second largest number of arrests in the last decade after the 102 arrested in 2015, indicating a rise in the recruitment of Moroccans in Spain.
According to the Moroccan outlet, the number of terrorists of Moroccan origin suspected of having links with ISIS has risen, representing 64% of those detained in 2018.