The perpetrators of the terrorist attacks that hit Barcelona and Cambrils are Moroccans who were raised in Spain, acknowledged Spain’s Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido who paid a short visit to Rabat Tuesday for talks with Moroccan officials to strengthen bilateral counterterrorism cooperation.
Speaking at a press conference following talks with his Moroccan peer Abdelouafi Laftit, the Spanish Interior Minister recalled that 11 of the 12 terrorists involved in Catalonia attacks are of Moroccan origins but they grew up in Spain. The twelfth terrorist was even born in Spain, he noted.
“Since an early age, these terrorists moved in to Spain where they grew up and received their education,” the Spanish official explained.
He lauded the high level of cooperation between Moroccan and Spanish security services in the wake of the Catalonia attacks, adding that Moroccan experts are contributing to the ongoing investigations.
“No country is insulated from the threat of terrorism,” said the Spanish official, who stressed the need for international cooperation to counter this global threat.
In this regards, he commended Morocco for its “permanent, sincere and fruitful” cooperation with Spain.
Morocco is a key partner for Spain in the fight against terrorism, insisted Zoido, who pointed out to the need to gear efforts towards prevention and deradicalization.
He also underscored the pressing need of reinforcing the exchange of information between the two countries to counter terrorism and trans-border crime.
He added that between 2014 and 2017, Spanish and Moroccan security services led 12 joint operations, with the latest operation dating back to May where three IS terrorists were arrested, two in Barcelona and Salou and the third in Tangier.
Thanks to the Spanish-Moroccan close security cooperation, 175 people suspected of violent extremism have been arrested during these operations, he said.
On migration, Zoido said that cooperation with Morocco is key in thwarting mass illegal migration attempts.