Morocco Foils another Deadly ISIS Terror Plot
Morocco’s Interior Ministry announced Monday it has dismantled a five-member Islamic State group cell planning to carry out bomb attacks using a pressure cooker in crowded public places.
The cell members, linked to ISIS, were operating in the southern city of Smara and the region of Chtouka Aït Baha (near Marrakech) and were ready to declare jihad in the kingdom, said the Interior Ministry in a statement.
According to the Interior Ministry, the dismantled cell first planned to join the ISIS-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq before it changed course and sought to rally the Libyan branch of the terrorist organization. It intended to go to Libya via Mauritania, with the help of smugglers operating in the Sahel-Sahara region.
The arrest of this new terror group comes few weeks after authorities broke up a dangerous ISIS cell that was planning an attack involving chemical weapons.
According to Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ,) the ten suspects, including a French national, were also planning biological attacks.
The police found six jars of sulphur-containing chemical fertilizer, which when heated can release a fatally toxic gas. Other chemicals that can create the tetanus toxin were also recovered during the raid.
Laboratory tests confirmed the deadly chemicals, classified by international specialized organizations as dangerous biological weapons. Four machine guns, thirteen tear gas bombs and significant quantities of ammunition were also among the weapons seized, together with an ISIS flag.
According to Moroccan security experts, the seized weapons and chemicals show a radical change in ISIS tactics in its terror planning. Hundreds of Moroccan nationals are believed to have joined terrorist groups in hotbed conflict zones.
They also estimate at 500 the number of Moroccan ISIS sympathizers.
Moroccan authorities are waging tireless war against Islamic extremists and fanatics. They have disrupted over 152 terror cells since 2002, and 32 over the past three years.