Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Winning the War Against ISIS

Morocco's security forces have established a strong reputation for acting swiftly to break up extremist cells and arresting those involved in recruiting for Daesh (ISIS)

Morocco and Spain are working closely together on security issues

The Moroccans are also working closely with security forces in Europe including in France, Belgium, Holland and Spain.

On Sunday Spanish and Moroccan authorities arrested 10 suspects with links to the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS).

Jorge Fernandez Diaz, the Spanish Interior Minister, said this network was especially focused on recruiting women. Four of the arrests, two men and two women, took place in Spain, while the remaining six detentions were in Casablanca.

The women arrested in Spain were both Moroccans, while one of the men was a Spanish national of Moroccan ancestry and the other a Portuguese citizen converted to Islam. The group is notorious for its brutality and many human rights violations, as well as for recruiting people from all over the world via social networks.

According to the mayor of Xeraco in Valencia, where police operations lasted from 5.30-9 a.m. local time [0330-0700 GMT] Sunday, one of those detained is a girl around 20 years old, who is believed to have been living with her parents.

Investigators seized documents from the suspects and will be analysing them, Fernandez Diaz said. By the end of September, Spain had been involved in the arrest of 71 suspected Islamist militants at home and abroad, up from 46 in the whole of 2014, according to interior ministry figures.

Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) is credited with being at the front line in the campaign against extremism and has been praised for its intelligence gathering and swift operations. The BCIJ was only set up in March 2015 but within days had been making major arrests (See story here).

Back in September the BCIJ displayed weapons, ammunition, tasers, swords and bomb-making materials seized from the jihadists.

BCIJ Director Abdelhak Khiame

“The weapons came to Morocco through the eastern borders with Algeria,” BCIJ director Abdelhak Khiame said. The jihadists had pledged allegiance to ISIL and planned to call their affiliate the Caliphate Soldiers in Morocco, Khiame said.

Officials said the five-member terror cell, one of a number recently dismantled in Morocco, was operating in the southern city of Essaouira and the central town of Sidi Allal al-Bahraoui.

At the same time Morocco is said to be assisting the French in air strikes against Daesh is Syria. On September 27th, one year after the launch of the international coalition, France launched strikes against a training camp for fighters of the terrorist organisation in the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, in the east of the country.

Moroccan fighter jets may be assisting the French

Almost two weeks later, the Moroccan weekly Al Ousboue Assahafi, citing a "Western source", suggested that F-16 combat aircraft of the Moroccan air force based in the UAE had provided support in the bombing. The Moroccan media does not specify the nature of the assistance provided by the Moroccan forces but it is accepted that a military cooperation agreement was sealed in Tangier on 19 and 20 September, on the occasion of discussions between the French president and King Mohammed VI.

The Moroccan newspaper says that this alliance between Rabat and Paris is a reaction to Daesh consolidating its Moroccan and French fighters in a single unit whose members train in a camp in Raqqa. The large number of jihadists from the two countries is thought to be between 800 and 1000 for the French and 1200-1400 for Moroccans.

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