Rabat- Moroccan authorities said on Friday that the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation succeeded in thwarting a terrorist attack by ISIS, leading to the arrest of a seven-member terrorist cell.
The group had ties with commanders of ISIS in Syria, Iraq and Libya and had set up a hideout in El-Jadida town, said a statement from the interior ministry.
An assault rifle, seven pistols, ammunition and bomb-making material were confiscated along with two explosive belts, authorities said.
A security official told Agence France Presse that there had been an exchange of gunfire between the cell’s members and anti-terrorism forces in El-Jadida on Thursday.
The statement added that the cell planned to attract more members and mobilize them to carry out disruptive operations that aim at killing the highest number of victims to spread terror among citizens and shake stability.
The arrest of the network’s members coincided with the frequent ISIS operations that targeted various countries lately not to mention the continuous threats made by Moroccan fighters though media campaigns.
The statement concluded that the suspicious individuals will be referred to the judiciary once the investigation with them under the supervision of the Public Prosecution is over.
In 2015, 21 cells were arrested while last year 19 networks were broken up thanks to Morocco’s preemptive terrorist policy. As part of this policy in fighting terrorism, 548 were arrested (275 in 2015 and 273 in 2016) – the terrorists were planning explosions, assassinations and armed robberies, revealed Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) chief Abdelhak Khayyam.
Since 2002, Moroccan security forces have arrested 167 cells, 46 out of them have strong ties with terrorist groups. Up to 341 terrorist operations have been foiled.