Morocco arrests Daesh militant linked to France plot

Published December 4th, 2016 - 11:00 GMT
Moroccan security forces patrol the streets of Casablanca. (AFP/File)
Moroccan security forces patrol the streets of Casablanca. (AFP/File)

Authorities in Morocco have detained a man suspected of operating for the Daesh group, saying he was allegedly involved in a plot on the French soil.

The Moroccan Interior Ministry said on Saturday that the unidentified man had been cooperating with a terror cell that was busted in France in November, adding that the cell was plotting to carry out an attack in Paris on Thursday.

A group of seven men were arrested in the French cities of Strasbourg and Marseille on November 19 and 20, with authorities saying later that the men had been in contact with a commander in Iraq or Syria.

Moroccan officials said the arrested Daesh operative had been linking the group's members stationed on the Syrian-Turkish border with members of the cell in France, transferring instructions from leaders of Daesh in Syria to the militants in the French territory.

France has been the main victim of Daesh attacks on the European soil in the recent past. Paris saw the deadliest of all in November 2015, when 130 people were killed in a matter of night across the capital city by Daesh operatives.

Daesh has European nationals of the African origin within its ranks, including many from Morocco. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 28-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin, was the main suspect for orchestrating the attacks in Paris and cities in Belgium. The Moroccan intelligence helped put French investigators on the trail of Abaaoud last year.

Estimates show that at least 1,200 Moroccans have traveled to fight alongside Daesh in Iraq and Syria over the past 18 months. Authorities said on Friday eight men with alleged ties to Daesh were arrested in the cities of Fez and Tangiers.


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