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Morocco arrests 10 suspected female ISIS militants

It was the latest in a series of militant cells Morocco says it has
broken up, but it is the first time authorities have arrested a group of
female suspects.

 

Morocco has dismantled a suspected Islamic State
militant cell and arrested 10 women believed to be planning attacks in
the North African kingdom, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.

It
was the latest in a series of militant cells Morocco says it has broken
up, but it is the first time authorities have arrested a group of
female suspects.
An Interior Ministry statement said the cell was operating in several regions including the cities of Kenitra and Tangier.

It
said the cell members reflected an Islamic State effort to integrate
female militants for attacks in the kingdom and they were inspired by
the brother of one of them who was involved in bombings in Iraq earlier
this year.
Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial
Investigation (BCIJ), the judicial arm of the domestic intelligence
service, seized chemicals and bomb-making materials in one of the
suspects’ houses, the statement said.
The BCIJ has actively tracked alleged militants since Islamic State seized large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014-2015.
Hundreds
of fighters from Morocco and other Maghreb states – Tunisia and Algeria
– have joined Islamist militant forces in Syria’s civil war. Some are
threatening to return and create new jihadist wings in their home
countries, security experts say.
Nearby Libya has
become a major draw for jihadists from North Africa and sub-Saharan
Africa as Islamic State has taken advantage of widespread chaos there to
build a base, operate training camps and take over the city of Sirte.

The
Moroccan government believes 1,500 Moroccan nationals are fighting with
militant factions in Syria and Iraq. About 220 have returned home and
been jailed, while 286 have been killed in battle.
Morocco,
an ally in the Western campaign against Islamist militancy, has
suffered attacks itself in the past, most recently in 2011 in Marrakesh
when an explosion tore through a cafe and killed 15 people, mostly
foreigners.

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