Morocco’s interior ministry announced on Friday the foiling of an Islamic State’s (IS) terror attack, a new operation that shows the imminent threat the group poses to the country.

Morocco has been targeted by terrorist groups. Terror attack in 2011 in the tourist city of Marrakesh claimed the lives of at least 15 people. In recent years, it was the IS group that has been plotting attacks against sensitive spots in the country.

According to official figures, in 2016 alone, Morocco busted 19 terrorist cells and arrested of 273 suspects, most of them linked to the group which control large swaths in Syria and Iraq.

Friday’s operation led to the bust of the seven-member cell in five cities, namely El Jadida, Settat, Sale, Meknes and Taza, the ministry said in a statement.

The interior ministry said that the police raided the cell’s safe house in the coastal city of El Jadida, some 190 km south of the capital Rabat, adding that the mastermind of the cell was preparing terror attacks following orders from IS field leaders.

National TV channels showed the seized firearms, ammunition, bladed weapons, telecommunication devices, chemical substances and suspicious liquids.

The ministry said that these materials are likely to be used in the production of explosive devices, noting that the suspicious objects will be submitted to scientific expertise.

While the ministry did not reveal details about the operation in El Jadida, le360.ma news site reported earlier on Friday that the Moroccan police started since the early hours an operation where real bullets and explosion were heard in the coastal city.

The explosion was also reported by Alyaoum24.com news site, which cited local sources saying that the city has been on high alert.

The ministry noted that the cell planned also to recruit young people to conduct operations that kill as many people as possible and undermine the country’s stability.

The statistics of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) indicate that since 2002, 167 cells have been dismantled, 46 of which were closely linked to groups active in IS conflict zones.

A total of 341 terrorist attempts have been foiled by Moroccan security services and 2,963 individuals arrested were arrested and brought to justice, according to the same figures.

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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