Moroccan police have dismantled a jihadist network suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight with the radical "Islamic State" group in Iraq and Syria. The operation was carried out with help from authorities in Spain.
"The operation, based on detailed investigations carried out in close collaboration with Spain, stems from a proactive security approach aimed at battling terrorist threats," a ministry statement said.
According to Moroccan police, the group was operating in the Moroccan cities of Fez and Tetouan, as well as the town of Fnideq, close to the Spanish exclave of Ceuta.
The Spanish Interior Ministry, which was involved in the investigation, said that nine people in total were arrested. It added that the network had also been operating in Ceuta and was sending recruits for train in weapons use bomb assembly and car theft.
"The dismantled network was dedicated to the recruitment, financial support and dispatch of jihadists for the terrorist organization 'Islamic State'," said the Spanish ministry.
This month two young Spanish women were arrested in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla, suspected of trying to join an IS cell.
Since a series of suicide attacks that killed 33 people in Casablanca in May, 2003, Morocco claims to have dismantled a large number of jihadist cells. Morocco has expressed concerns that its own nationals returning from fighting in Syria have done so "to carry out terrorist acts."
rc/sb (AFP, AP, Reuters)