Morocco Captures Seven Isis Operatives
Moroccan security services announced Wednesday the arrest of seven members of the terrorist organization Isis. The cell was active in the northern city of Fez and nearby town of Moulay Yacoub. Its members were busy working to recruit volunteers for the extremist group.
According to Moroccan interior ministry, the police seized bladed weapons, military uniforms, money and electronic equipment during the raid.
The arrest of this new cell is part of Morocco’s tireless war against terrorism. The North African country has placed counterterrorism at the top of its priorities following the Casablanca terror attacks in 2003 and the subsequent attacks of 2007 and 2011.
Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), the judicial arm of the domestic intelligence service, has tracked militants since Islamic State seized large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014-2015.
Morocco’s counterterrorism strategy is based on vigilant security measures, regional and international cooperation, and counter-radicalization policies.
As the international coalition intensified its airstrikes against Isis in Iraq and Syria, the extremist group started moving to North Africa and particularly to Libya where the jihadists have enhanced their influence and presence.
Morocco’s counterterrorism efforts mitigated the risk of terrorism but the country continues to face threats, largely from numerous small, independent violent extremist cells.
The Moroccan authorities have dismantled multiple groups with ties to international networks that included ISIS. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Isis continue efforts to recruit Moroccans.
According to some experts, one of the main factors helping to keep Morocco’s jihadists in check is the competence of its security forces. The country’s powerful intelligence agency, national police force, paramilitary police and Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (Morocco’s version of the FBI) work closely with their American and European counterparts, receive extensive training and are highly proficient.
Moroccan intelligence has even helped to avert attacks elsewhere with the information it collects and shares with its regional and international partners.