Skip to main content

Morocco arrests Italian suspected of Islamic State ties

The North African state has suffered bomb attacks by suspected Islamist fighters, most recently in Argana Cafe on April 28, 2011 in Marrakesh Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Rabat Jun 13, 2016, 01.33 PM (IST)
Moroccan authorities have arrested an Italian national who was planning to carry out attacks on targets in the kingdom, said the interior ministry in a statement on Monday.

Morocco, a Western ally against Islamist militancy, announced that it has broken up militant cells accused of plotting attacks inside and outside the kingdom.

The suspected Italian national, who lives in Belgium, was arrested on June 8 when he landed in the eastern city of Oujda, based on intelligence report showing his alleged ties to the Islamic State group and involved in a plan to attack targets in Morocco, said the statement

In 2014, he tried to travel to Syria or Iraq but failed, despite guidance from an Islamic State member, and returned to Belgium

Authorities said the suspect has already visited Morocco in 2015, sent by Islamic State, and identified targets in Casablanca, Morocco's biggest city.

Moroccan security officials provided information that helped their European counterparts in fighting militancy, especially during the recent Paris attacks.

Thousands of fighters from Morocco and other Maghreb nations, such as Tunisia, have joined Islamist militant forces that is in conflict in Iraq and Syria, and also in Libya. Some are threatening to return home to carry out attacks and recruit more jihadis, says security experts .

Moroccan officials estimate that 2,000 Moroccan fighters have joined armed groups in Syria and Iraq, including Islamic State and the al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front, and about 200 have been jailed on their return home.

The North African state has suffered bomb attacks by suspected Islamist fighters, most recently in 2011 in Marrakesh.
Show Comments
  • delete