News / Middle East

Morocco Goes on High Alert Over Terror Threats

The scene of an explosion at a Marrakesh cafe, April 29, 2011, where a bomb killed 15 people in an attack by suspected Islamist militants.
The scene of an explosion at a Marrakesh cafe, April 29, 2011, where a bomb killed 15 people in an attack by suspected Islamist militants.
Reuters

Morocco has put its security services on high alert after intelligence reports revealed a “serious terror threat” from  Islamist militants returning home after fighting in Iraq and Syria, the government said.

Hundreds of fighters from Morocco and other Maghreb states like Tunisia and Algeria have joined Islamist-dominated fighters in Syria's civil war and the insurgency in Iraq, and North African governments fear they will perpetrate attacks once they return.

“The threats are linked to the increasing numbers of Moroccans belonging to organizations in Syria and Iraq,” said a statement issued after the weekly cabinet meeting. “Many of these fighters, including some who are leading those organizations, don't hide their willingness to perpetrate terrorist attacks against our country.”

An al-Qaida offshoot now calling itself the Islamic State has proclaimed a “caliphate” on territory it has seized in Iraq and Syria after a lightning advance last month.

Moroccans fighting with the group have posted videos on social media showing their weapons and promising they will return to create an Islamic state in Morocco.

“We will bring this back to you in the kingdom of Mohammed VI,” one militant with a northern Moroccan accent said in a video posted last week, referring to the Moroccan king.

Moroccan authorities say they have dismantled dozens of Islamist militant cells that sent fighters to Syria and Iraq.

“Authorities have arrested around 160 members who returned home,” said Abderrahim Ghazali, spokesman for an association of families and former detainees that defends the rights of jailed Islamists. “Most of them have been arrested when their plane landed at Moroccan airports.”

The North African kingdom has suffered numerous bomb attacks by suspected Islamist militants, most recently in 2011 in Marrakesh, when a blast in a cafe killed 15 people including 10 foreigners. It was the worst attack in Morocco since 2003, when suicide bombings killed more than 45 people in Casablanca. 

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs