Results tagged “Morocco”

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Interior Minister Hassad said security has been heightened due to a "serious terrorist threat" from extremists affiliated with terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. Authorities say over 1,000 Moroccans are fighting in Syria.

Moroccan authorities claimed to have dismantled 18 terrorist cells between 2011 and 2013 that involved recruiting networks. Experts estimate that over 2,000 Moroccans are now fighting in Syria. On May 28, three people engaged in recruiting for al Qaeda in Syria were arrested in Casablanca and Fdineq, and on May 26, two people involved in similar activity were arrested in Fez. A network with Moroccan members that recruited for al Qaeda camps in Syria, Mali, and Libya was broken up by Spanish authorities on May 30.

Salafists demonstrated in Casablanca, calling for the release of Islamists linked to suicide bombings in the city in 2003. One of the protest organizers said that of some 1,000 Islamists currently imprisoned in Morocco, about 400 were detained after the Casablanca bombings and the remainder were jailed after coming back from fighting in Syria.

Police announced the dismantling of a terrorist cell involved in funneling Moroccan fighters to al Qaeda-linked forces in Syria, including the Al Nusrah Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, and Sham al Islam. The cell members, who operated in a number of Moroccan cities, are being held while the investigation continues.

Security forces have dismantled a terrorist criminal network in Fez and Sefrou that used fraud and forgery to finance al Qaeda activities in Syria. The network was headed by an al Qaeda recruiter and included two known terrorists.

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.

Authorities announced the breakup of a terrorist cell with ties to leaders in al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Four suspects, who were active in Fes, Meknes, Taounate, and Tiznit, were arrested. The cell's leader was accused of planning a terrorist attack and inciting sabotage. A crowd of 10,000 Islamists marched in Rabat in support of Egypt's Islamists and Mohammed Morsi.

Members of two terror cells arrested on May 9 said they tried to set up a jihadist camp near Nador for launching attacks on Morocco. The "Attawhid" and "al-Mouahidoun" cells had ties to other extremist groups in Mali, Belgium, and Spain, including the coastal enclave of Melilla. The cells also planned schools, and recruited fighters for jihad against Morocco. Over the past 10 years, Moroccan security services have dismantled some 130 terrorist cells, and prevented 266 attacks on "security facilities, tourism sites, foreign diplomatic missions, synagogues and churches." Between 2005 and 2008, security services dismantled some 15 terrorist cells in Morocco.

A prominent Salafist preacher issued a takfir fatwa against Moroccan human rights activist Ahmed Assid for suggesting that religious school textbooks could lead youth to violence, and called for Assid to be 'silenced.' Morocco's Research and Jurisprudence Studies Society also criticized Assid for the 'provocation.' The Moroccan Coalition of Human Rights Groups urged the government to intervene against the issuance of takfir fatwas, which are subject to Morocco's laws.

Prime Minister Benkirane, an Islamist, said criticism of the Prophet Mohammed is unacceptable. The UN's envoy to the Sahara said that Morocco and the Polisario Front are deadlocked, and that the terrorist threat in the region had not moved the parties to reach a solution.

Morocco canceled its annual military exercises with the US that were scheduled to start today. The government is upset with the US for supporting a UN initiative to begin human rights monitoring in the disputed Western Sahara territory.

Some 30,000 protesters in Rabat on yesterday called for the downfall of the government of Islamist prime minister Abdel Ilah bin Kiran. The protest was organized by two of the largest labor unions and focused on unemployment, the economy, and human rights.

Local sources said Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghaly, along with the group's spokesman and four senior operatives, has taken refuge in Morocco until the Malian military intervention is over. Ghaly reportedly sought asylum in Mauritania in late January.

The Justice Committee in the Chamber of Representatives adopted a draft law that makes financing of terrorism a criminal offense. The law will apply to acts of terrorism outside as well as within Morocco and to plans that are not executed as well as those that are.

Authorities broke up an al Qaeda recruitment cell with members in Fnideq, Tangier, Al Hoceima, and Meknes. The cell had recruited over 40 Moroccans for jihad with al Qaeda-linked groups; recruits were given military and suicide bomber training. It is the fifth jihadist group dismantled in Morocco over the past several months.

A court in Rabat arraigned 12 members of a cell dismantled in December that recruited Moroccans for al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The cell, based in Fez, included a man who had been extradited from Algeria in 2005 for trying to join the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.