Morocco’s security chief says authorities were tracking the movement of the terror cell and waiting for the right time to prevent “bloodbath.”
Rabat – Morocco has just avoided a tragedy, says the Head of the country’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation, Abdelhak El Khiame, in the wake of the last-minute dismantling of a terror cell on Thursday.
El Khiame said that the plotted operation would have caused a blood bath had the now dismantled cell successfully carried it out. The terrorist cell’s members had reached an advanced phase of extremism, he explained.
In a statement to the press, the BCIJ leader said his staff had to use warning shots due to the danger of the terrorists.
“We knew that stopping these individuals would not be easy.”
On Thursday, BCIJ personnel were deployed in several cities, including Tangier, Skhirat, Temara near Rabat and Tiflet to raid the terrorist suspects.
During the operation, two of the suspects showed “violent resistance,” while one injured a BCIJ team member with a sharp tool, the BCIJ revealed on Thursday.
Another suspect also tried to blow himself with a gas cylinder during the arrest.
El Khiame said that the leader of the cell has a long criminal history.
He also said that the suspects used knives,which made their arrest challenging.
The top security official said that Moroccan security authorities were aware of the movements of the cell, and had long been tracking its members’ actions and moves.
He said that the BCIJ personnel had enough experience to track down the defendants.
Commenting on the competence of Morocco’s security services, El Khiame emphasized that authorities have a “high capacity” to report in a timely manner on the stages of progress in the planning of terror operations.
Security services tracked the suspects via the internet using their ISIS member-monitoring tools.
The BCIJ’s decision to act on Thursday to dismantle the cell was because the security services realized that the cell had reached an advanced state and was planning to implement its plans to turn Morocco into a “bloodbath.”
The members of the cell were playing to pledge loyalty to the so-called Islamic State, El Khiam said. He warned that ISIS’s terrorist ideology did not end with the fall of the organization or its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria and Iraq.
“The terrorist ideology still poses a security challenge for all countries, especially for Morocco, which is present in the Sahel and Sahara region.”