Eleven Moroccans were detained in sweeps of the allegedly nascent terrorist group believed to have links to a radical Islamic movement, the official Maghreb Arabe Presse (MAP) news agency reported on Tuesday, citing unidentified police officials.

The report did not indicate the location or time of the arrests, but said the group was active along the border of neighbouring Algeria and Mali to the south.

Its alleged leader, Mohamed Said Idghiri, was described as a militant in a radical Islamic group with international ties.

He was detained on returning from secret paramilitary training in the border area, with plans to carry out attacks, MAP said but did not elaborate.

The suspects are to appear in court.

Last month, the authorities arrested 17 Moroccans accused of links to al-Qaida and of planning to carry out attacks on tourist sites and public buildings in the kingdom.

Morocco has stepped up its counter-terrorism measures after five near-simultaneous attacks in Casablanca in May 2003 that killed 45 people, including 12 bombers.