Results tagged “Morocco”
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Morocco has begun requiring visas for visitors from Libya as a "security precaution," following the recent arrests of more than 105 Libyan visitors with fake passports; most of those arrested were not Arabs, and some had previously been banned from entering Morocco. The parliament is considering legislation that would criminalize takfir and incitement to violence, after Salafist imam Abdelhamid Abounaim issued a fatwa denouncing a politician as an "apostate" and his party as "infidels."
The public prosecutor referred to 45 recently arrested members of the terrorist group Sham al-Islam, which was formed by Brahim Benchekroune and Mohamed Maz to recruit and train Moroccan jihadists for combat in Syria and attacks in Morocco. Other Moroccan Salafists, including former bin Laden bodyguard Abdellah Tabark, are also thought to have gone to Syria to fight. Since the May 2003 suicide attacks in Casablanca, Moroccan authorities have foiled 266 terrorist plots and dismantled 114 terror cells. Prosecutors are investigating Salafist cleric Abdelhamid Abounaim, who had distributed a video denouncing an opposition party leader as an apostate.
Authorities announced results of the Dec. 25 arrest of 18 members of a terrorist cell that sent fighters to Syria. One of the detainees admitted to preparing a bomb for a terrorist attack in Morocco. Bombs, swords, knives, gas masks, and military uniforms were found in the homes of the detainees along with al Qaeda tapes and letters for the jihadists' families. The latest arrests were preceded by the arrest of a national coordinator for the terrorist network.
The Interior Ministry said security forces dismantled a terrorist network and arrested a previously detained suspect who coordinates operations nationwide, including recruitment of militants and fundraising. Earlier this month Morocco and France agreed to further develop their counterterrorism cooperation.
Longtime Moroccan jihadist Brahim Benchekroune, who is now in Syria, has launched Sham al-Islam, an al Qaeda-inspired group that recruits Moroccans to fight in Syria, with the ultimate goal of sending them back to Morocco to establish a jihadist organization there. Over 30 percent of the terrorists released from Moroccan prisons have joined al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in Syria. The Interior Ministry said some 85 Moroccans have been arrested in recent months for ties to networks that recruit jihadists for Syria and Mali.