Morocco, Spain arrest terror suspects in joint security operation

Morocco, Spain arrest terror suspects in joint security operation

The Moroccan Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) and Spanish authorities have mounted a joint counterterrorism operation, during which several terror suspects were arrested in Nador, Morocco’s Oriental region, and in the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

The BCIJ detained one suspect active in the town of Farkhana, in Nador. The arrest happened at the same time as another counterterrorism operation in Melilla, where other suspects, including a former detainee who joined terrorist organisations in the Sahel region, were arrested by Spanish authorities.

Preliminary investigations have shown that the arrested suspects were also involved in recruiting other individuals into their terrorist operations, the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST) said in a statement.

The suspect arrested in Morocco is in custody in a probe to identify any possible links or other terrorist plots aimed at undermining Morocco’s stability.

The arrests came less than a week after a similar joint Spanish-Moroccan counterterrorism operation.

Last week, Spanish police revealed that they had succeeded, in collaboration with DGST, in dismantling a network suspected of involvement in the preparation of two terrorist attacks and the financing of activities of of ISIS members.

According to a report by the Spanish police, the operation resulted in the arrest of five people in Spain’s Valencia, Caceres, Alicante and Guipuzcoa provinces.

The report said it was suspected that members of the network were involved in collecting money generated from crimes committed in Europe to finance their terrorist activities.

The report indicated that the detainees were transferring large sums of money, as approximately 200,000 euros in cryptocurrencies were seized during the inspections.

The report added that some members of the network also tried to attract new sympathisers to embrace the jihadist ideology and support them in carrying out terrorist attacks.

According to investigations conducted over a period of approximately two years, it was found that “this network contributed to preparing for the implementation of at least two terrorist plans, which were ultimately neutralised thanks to the interventions of the security services.”

The operation is part of Moroccan-Spanish efforts to fight against extremism and terrorism.

Both countries have frequently repeated their determination to scale up counterterrorism cooperation to tackle security threats.

Over the last few months, the Moroccan and Spanish authorities have carried out joint operations, during which a number of extremist elements was arrested, including elements linked to Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Albares noted the importance of the Spanish-Moroccan cooperation during a visit last week to Rabat, where he met senior officials to discuss bilateral ties.

Ahead of the visit, Albares gave an interview hailing the win-win cooperation between the two countries which covers several security areas, including the fight against human-trafficking and terrorism.

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