Morocco: Arrest of 13 suspected ISIS-affiliates plotting terror attacks across Morocco
Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) arrested 13 ISIS-affiliated suspects on Thursday in several Moroccan provinces.
The arrests, conducted in coordination with national police, took place in the cities of Casablanca, Beni Mellal, Mohammedia, Khenifra, Temara, Tiflet, Ksar el Kebir, Rissani and Berkane, the BCIJ said in a statement.
The searches conducted in the homes of the individuals arrested have allowed the seizure of several materials and digital media that will be submitted to the necessary technical expertise, written publications containing extremist thought theories, and leaflets authorizing suicide operations and inciting violence.
Early investigations showed that the suspects carried out “extensive research” to learn how to manufacture explosives, and were also able to connect with terrorist groups outside Morocco, with the aim of joining ISIS, especially in the Sahel and Sahara regions.
The BCIJ statement said that the suspects aged between 19 and 49 were involved in “preparing” terror attacks targeting sensitive departments and locations across the country, including security elements and institutions in the context of operations of “individual terrorism.”
The arrested persons were placed in custody for the judicial investigation conducted by the BCIJ under the supervision of the competent prosecutor’s office, in order to identify their terrorist plans and projects and to elucidate their possible regional and international ramifications with terrorist organizations outside Morocco.
These latest arrests are part of Morocco’s efforts to address security threats including extremism and terrorism.
Morocco’s counterterrorism approach and vigilance against security threats have been highlighted by several international reports, the latest being the annual Country Terrorism Report from the US Department of State, which described Morocco’s counterterrorism mechanism as comprehensive.
Last Monday, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Dana Stroul underlined the strength of Morocco’s counterterrorism approach, stressing that Morocco is a “critical partner” of the U.S. in countering violent extremism and terror threat in the Sahel and across Africa.