Morocco arrests Syria linked ‘terrorist cell’

Moroccan authorities say the detainees had managed to enter Syria from Turkey

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Morocco authorities have dismantled its first “terrorist cell” sending fighters to Syria, an Al Arabiya correspondent in Rabat reported on Thursday.

The 18 detainees who were arrested by Moroccan authorities on Dec. 25 had managed to enter Syria by land, via smugglers from Turkey, local sources said.

One of the detainees admitted that he produced a remotely detonated bomb meant for a terrorist attack in Morocco.

The detainees who were trained in the use of firearms and explosives faced home inspections following their arrest.

During the inspections, swords, knives and bombs were found in the houses of the detainees along with gas masks and military uniforms.

Recorded tapes from al-Qaeda and letters left by the jihadists for their families were also found in the detainees’ houses.

In September, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, released a video calling for jihad in Morocco, which it referred to as a “kingdom of corruption and despotism.”

Morocco has announced the dismantling of several alleged terrorist cells this year, and authorities have expressed concern about the proliferation of extremist groups.

Morocco, an ally of France and the United States, remains haunted by a wave of attacks in May 2003 claimed by al-Qaeda in which 33 people were killed in Casablanca.

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