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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid