Three arrested in Morocco for recruiting, funding militants
Thousands of foreign fighters have descended upon Syria to fight in the civil war. (AFP/File)
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Authorities in Morocco have arrested three people accused of recruiting and funding militants to fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Moroccan Interior Ministry said in a Monday statement that police detained two suspects in the central city of Fez for collaborating with elements on the Turkey-Syria border to recruit men to battle alongside the al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria.
Another suspect was arrested in the city of Mrirt on charges of sending money to militant groups in Syria by “hacking credit cards.”
“Al-Qaeda continues to target Morocco, especially with Moroccan fighters that have received military training abroad and return to the country to commit terrorist acts,” read the ministry statement.
The ministry underlined that Rabat fears that the militants who are currently operating in Syria might later carry out attacks against the African country.
Experts say over 2,000 Moroccan militants are operating inside Syria while more than 400 have died since the crisis broke out in the Arab country three years ago.
A British defense study published last year by IHS Jane’s showed that about 100,000 militants, fragmented into 1,000 groups, are operating in Syria. Extracts of the study by defense consultancy IHS Jane’s were published on September 16, 2013, revealing that some 10,000 militants were fighting for groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the rest fighting for different militant groups.
The analysis also said that a large number of extremists from foreign countries are also active in Syria, which has been gripped by a deadly conflict since 2011.