Moroccan police said on Friday they, in cooperation with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, arrested a suspected member of the Islamic State group who was implicated in plotting “acts of terrorism”.
The announcement came ahead of the opening of a conference of member states in the US-led coalition against IS next Wednesday in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.
Morocco’s counter-terrorism police, the Central Office of Judicial Research, said in a statement the suspect, based in the northeastern Berkne region of the kingdom, was implicated in the “preparation of a terrorist plot aimed at causing a serious blow to the public order”.
The profile of his terrorist plot was uncovered based on research and technical investigations conducted jointly with the FBI.
The operation is “further evidence of the continuing threat of terroristic threat looming over Morocco” and of the “importance of bilateral cooperation” with the United States in the fight against terrorism.
The suspect, a 37-year-old engineer, “run a closed user group dedicated to extremist targets and projects for the purpose of recruiting and drawing sympathizers,” the statement said.
Its purpose was to carry out attacks on Moroccan soil against Moroccans and foreign dignitaries, it alleged.
Morocco has escaped jihadist violence that has rocked other Middle East and North African countries in recent years, but security services regularly report arrests of suspects in operations targeting terrorist cells.
Since 2002, police say they have arrested more than 3,500 suspects in terrorism-related cases.