Morocco 'dismantles al-Qaeda cell'

Security forces arrest 24 suspects allegedly planning attacks and assassinations.

    Morocco stepped up security after a 2003 suicide bombing in which 45 were killed [File GALLO/GETTY]

    The suspects were found in possession of a pistol and ammunition that they had allegedly taken after attacking the officer, the ministry said.

    Enlisting recruits

    The suspects are also accused of recruiting Moroccan citizens to send to conflicts in locations including Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, the ministry said, citing details from an inquiry led by a prosecutor.

    Other recruits were to join fighters in the Sahara and Sahel desert regions, where an al-Qaeda offshoot known as al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb has been increasingly active in recent months.

    The group roams the border region of Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Morocco.

    The network includes four former detainees convicted of terrorism-related charges in the country, it said. It did not provide details on the other suspects.

    Security services have reported the arrest of 30 suspected "terrorists" since March 2, including those announced on Monday.

    Moroccan authorities carried out mass arrests after five suicide bombings in Casablanca in May 2003 in which 45 people were killed.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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