Morocco has raised its terrorism threat level to "maximum," the highest category indicating an attack is expected imminently, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Friday. The decision was announced after a meeting of chiefs of police, intelligence and paramilitary forces in the capital Rabat, Reuters reported.
Analysts and diplomats said recent visits to Morocco by top European and U.S security officials underscored the imminence of the threat. They pointed to repeated al Qaeda threats to hit the kingdom and other North African states, citing also the recent appearance on video of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, al Qaeda's number two, to urge the overthrow of what he called "corrupt" Islamic governments.
"This alert level indicates a serious threat of terrorist action and requires the extreme mobilization of the security organs," the ministry said. It cited "reliable intelligence information" but gave no details about any specific attack threat.
One security analyst said: "I suspect the authorities made an arrest and obtained precise information. That information could have been corroborated by intelligence coming from Western allies of Morocco."