Morocco on Monday arrested four suspects allegedly linked to the Islamic State group who were plotting “dangerous and imminent terrorist” attacks, the judicial police said.
The four Moroccan men, all in their 20s, were detained in the northern city of Tangiers during a raid in which police fired warning shots, the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) said in a statement.
They were planning to “destabilize security in the kingdom… through terrorist methods inspired by operations” carried out by IS jihadists in Syria and Iraq, the statement added.
Bladed weapons and electronic equipment were also seized, it said.
In September, authorities said they had dismantled an IS-linked cell and arrested five men accused of preparing suicide attacks against prominent figures and a security headquarters in Morocco.
At the time, BCIJ head Abdelhak Khiame told AFP in an interview that IS has “developed” in the Sahel-Sahara region due to conflict in Libya and in countries like Mali, which he said were unable to “control their security” situations.
“Terrorist cells and terrorism are growing in the region, but also organized crime networks, drug trafficking, (and of) weapons and human beings,” he said.
“All of this… makes the Sahel region, in my opinion, a time bomb.”
The Sahel covers western and north-central Africa.