Moroccan security services have arrested 11 people accused of plotting attacks in Morocco and Belgium and having links to Iraq’s insurgency, the Moroccan state news agency reported Monday.
The suspects, including a Moroccan living in Belgium, were arrested in the cities of Nador and Fez, the MAP agency reported, citing unidentified police officials. The report did not say when the arrests took place.
They are accused of having links to cells sending fighters to Iraq’s insurgency and to camps of an Algeria-based militant group that calls itself Al Qaeda in Islamic North Africa.
The report said authorities believe the suspects were planning attacks in Morocco and Belgium, without elaborating.
A Moroccan court is already investigating a terrorism cell dismantled in the northern city of Tetouan and accused of supporting insurgents in Iraq.
Last week, the court said it was broadening its investigation into the cell to include the relatives of some of the 27 people accused of “recruiting Moroccans for Iraq” and “forming a criminal gang with the goal of preparing and committing terrorist acts”.
The group was headed by Ahmed Safri, a Swede of Moroccan origin who returned to his native country to organise a support team that sent several fighters to Iraq, authorities say.
Several suspects testified on Thursday, and some acknowledged they had travelled to Iraq but said they did not go with the intent to join the insurgency against the US-led forces there. The trial resumes Tuesday.
Morocco is a relatively moderate Muslim nation and popular tourist destination allied with the US that has seen a rise of political and extremist Islam in recent years. Suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003 killed 45 people and hundreds of suspected Islamic militants are behind bars.