The cell was operating in the southern city of Essaouira and the central town of Sidi Allal Al-Bahraoui, according to the Moroccan Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), set up lately as the American FBI.
In raids on the terror cell hideouts, the police have found weapons, ammunition, teasers, swords and bomb-making materials. Five members of the group had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, and planned to create a local offshoot dubbed “the Caliphate Soldiers in Morocco”, says the BCIJ.
The BCIJ says it has evidence that the group got its weapons from Algeria.
Hundreds of fighters from Morocco and other Maghreb countries like Tunisia and Algeria have joined the ISIS which is controlling large territories in Syria and Iraq.
Morocco, a Western ally against Islamist militancy, often announces it has broken up dangerous radical groups accused of plotting terror attacks. The North African Kingdom has suffered bomb attacks by Islamist militants, most recently in 2011 in Marrakesh.
Morocco’s efforts to fight terrorism have been praised worldwide by security experts. Lately, the United Nations Human Rights Council has hailed the Moroccan security approach and the efficiency of its intelligence services.
In a report unveiled in Geneva (Switzerland), the UNHRC described Moroccan Intelligence agency as the most powerful agency in MENA region due to its success in ensuring national security and important role in preventing terrorist attacks.
The UN report also commended the cooperation ties existing between the Moroccan intelligence agency and its foreign peers and particularly those of France, Spain and other super-powers such as the U.S., China and Russia.
Morocco’s European partners particularly Spain, France, Belgium and many others around the world all recognize the North African country’s importance in counter-terrorism and in the international war against radical Islamists.