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Suspicious number of Moroccans detained in Algeria

Authorities in the North African country have said a large number of Moroccans were caught trying to cross into Libya. A number of Moroccans and Tunisians have gone to the war-torn country to fight for terrorist groups.

Algerian authorities alerted the media on Sunday to what they said was a suspiciously large number of Moroccans caught while crossing through their territory.

Around 270 Moroccans were detained at an airport in the capital city of Algiers while apparently trying to reach Libya, the Reuters news agency reported.

Algeria's foreign ministry did not explain why the people had been held.

"The question about the massive and unusual flow of Moroccans from Casablanca heading for Libya through Algeria in the last weeks was the reason for discussions with the ambassador," the ministry said in a statement, according to state news agency APS.

Concerns over terrorism

The country's minister in charge of North African affairs said he had met with the Moroccan ambassador to discuss the matter.

North African governments have become increasingly worried about the number of Tunisians, Moroccans and other nationals crossing over into Libya to fight with terrorist organizations. The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) has called on Muslims across the region to join its fight in Libya, which has been mired in an increasingly fractious civil war since 2011.

More than 3,000 Tunisians and hundreds of Moroccans are among those who have heeded those calls and taken up arms to fight alongside 'IS,' according to Reuters.

blc/jlw (Reuters, AP)

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