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All-female 'Islamic State' cell arrested in Morocco

Police in Morocco have captured 10 women who had allegedly pledged allegiance to the militant group "Islamic State." The female cell is suspected of plotting suicide attacks across the country.

Morocco's interior ministry released a statement Monday saying the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations had dismantled the group in operations spread across eight towns.

The suspected cell was active in recruiting and training women in several parts of the country including Tangiers and towns near the capital, Rabat, authorities said.

The women had "tried to obtain the chemicals used to make explosive belts" and had planned to attack "vital installations," according to the ministry.

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The suspects had declared allegiance to the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) group, and some had close relationships or family ties with Moroccan fighters who had joined the militants in Syria or Iraq.

The women were taken in to custody pending further investigation, the ministry said.

A study by the US-based Soufan Group released last December found that at least 1,200 Moroccans had joined IS or other violent extremist groups in Syria and Iraq as foreign fighters. Back in July, Moroccan authorities arrested 52 suspects who were accused of planning to set up an IS branch in the North African country.

se/msh (AP, AFP)

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