Morocco dismantles ‘terror’ cell preparing attacks

A successful counter-extremism fight starts with civil society in 2016. (AFP pic)

RABAT: Three suspects accused of belonging to a “terrorist cell” affiliated to the Islamic State group were arrested in Morocco on Monday, the country’s anti-terror police said.

The three men, aged between 26 and 28, were “in the process of preparing terrorist attacks in the kingdom”, a statement said.

They were all arrested on Monday in the southern Moroccan towns of Errachidia and Tinghir, it added.

The suspects adhered to the “extremist ideology” of IS and tried to recruit and enrol people “to prepare their terrorist plan”, the statement said.

It came as the alleged murderers of two young Scandinavian tourists – who were discovered with their throats slit in mid-December – undergo trial.

A total of 24 defendants have appeared in court since early May in connection with the attack, which was perpetrated in the name of IS in the Atlas Mountains and caused widespread shock in the North African country.

Until last year, Morocco had been spared jihadist attacks since 2011, when a bomb attack on a cafe in Marrakesh’s famed Jamaa El Fna Square killed 17 people, most of them European tourists.

Attacks in the financial capital Casablanca killed 33 people in 2003.