Moroccan authorities dismantle Islamic State-linked cell in Eastern Morocco
Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) dismantled on Thursday, September 5, a 5-member terrorist cell linked to ISIS in Nador and Berkan, two cities in Eastern Morocco.
A statement from the Ministry of Interior said that the suspects are aged between 27 and 41. BCIJ also seized electronic devices and knives during the operation.
A preliminary investigation shows that the members of the cell planned to join the camps of a pro-ISIS network in the Sahel in the Sub-Sahara region before plotting terror acts targeting sensitives sites in Morocco.
The situation in the Sahel region has become a primary concern not only for Morocco but also for international powers such as the US.
In August, Army General Stephen T. Townsend, the commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said that the US shares Morocco’s concern on the worrying situation in the Sahel region. Morocco has been warning that the region has become a fertile ground for terrorists active in the region.
“Head of BCIJ Abdelhak Khiame also emphasized the importance of shared responsibility and cooperation to tackle the surge of terrorists in the region.
Considering Morocco as a strong partner for the US on counterterrorism, Townsend said, “We are working with all of our African partners and international partners to try to solve this problem”
The statement added that the mastermind of the cell had become an expert in making explosives intended for use in terror attacks.
BCIJ put the suspects in custody for further investigation.
Thursday’s operation comes after the BCIJ dismantled a four-member terrorist cell in Al Haouz, a province in the Marrakech-Safi region.
Morocco’s CCIJ conducted several similar operations as part of Morocco’s strategy to counter terrorism in the country and in the whole region.
Source: Morocco World News