Moroccan authorities on Tuesday said they had broken up a recruitment cell for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in the central Fez region, after announcing the discovery of a jihadist network last month.
“The police, in coordination with the leadership of territorial surveillance, have dismantled a cell with six members, originating from the city of Fez,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
The aim of the cell was to “enroll and recruit young Moroccans who have embraced jihadist ideas, in order to send them to camps of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) in Algeria,” it added.
Among those arrested was a “former prisoner detained under the anti-terrorism law,” who had been “extradited from Algeria in 2005 after he attempted to join the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).”
AQIM, the global terror network’s north African branch, evolved from the GSPC, a breakaway group of militant Algerian Islamists who refused to lay down their weapons when Algeria’s civil war ended.
Last month, the Moroccan authorities said they had dismantled several “terrorist” cells that were planning to attack strategic targets in the kingdom.
More than 2,000 Islamists were arrested and sentenced after 2003 suicide bomb attacks in Morocco’s second city of Casablanca that killed 45 people including the 12 attackers.