Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian militant groups published statements denouncing the normalization of ties between Morocco and Israel.
A former Guantanamo detainee named Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed was arrested on Feb. 23 in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa, for allegedly running a jihadist recruiting cell for the Islamic State. Spanish authorities also claim that he and others were willing to carry out a terrorist attack on Spanish soil. According to a leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo threat assessment, Ahmed traveled through Iran to Afghanistan to receive training in al Qaeda’s camps in 2001.
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Influential jihadists said that Sufyan al Maghribi, a Moroccan who served as al Qaeda’s military chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Umar al Talib, a propagandist who narrated videos for As Sahab, have been killed in airstrikes.
The Interior Ministry announced the arrest of seven members of an Islamic State recruiting cell that operated in Fez, Outat El Haj, and Zayou and that was also planning attacks against Morocco. The cell, said to be headed by a “teacher,” had sent several fighters to Syria and Iraq.
A closer look at recent developments in a number of countries should dispel any illusions that the Islamic State’s aspirations and activities are only regional.
Morocco, Spain combat terror threat
The Interior Ministry has announced the arrest of two Islamic State jihadists who were planning to travel to Syria and Iraq to attend terrorist training camps and then return to conduct attacks in Morocco. Both had links to foreign extremists, and one of the suspects had connections with a criminal gang in Fez.
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Morocco ramps up counter-terror fight
Moroccan police broke up a nine-person Islamic State cell that operated in Tetouan, Fez, and Fnideq and sent fighters to Syria and Iraq. Spanish authorities said the cell also operated in Ceuta.
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Spanish authorities said Mohamed Hamdouch a.k.a. Kokito, a Moroccan from Fdineq who heads an Islamic State brigade in Syria, has appeared in a recent Islamic State video with the heads of slaughtered victims. His wife Asia reportedly shares his jihadist goals. Over 3,000 Moroccan jihadists are said to be fighting in Syria and Iraq.
Syria jihadists go global
The Interior Ministry said Moroccan police arrested a veteran al Qaeda operative in the port of Tangier on July 26 on suspicion of fundraising and recruiting for the Al Nusrah Front in Syria. The suspect, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, had arrived in Morocco on July 21 after traveling through Tunisia and Libya.
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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.
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Little is publicly known about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham’s war minister. But he was appointed in April 2010 and the war ministry he leads has been in charge of planning the group’s operations in the past.
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 […]