Morocco says it breaks up militant cell recruiting for ISIS

January 17, 2015 18:12

RABAT - Morocco said on Saturday it had dismantled an Islamist militant cell sending fighters to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State and mount attacks on returning home.

The cell, the latest of series of radical groups authorities say they have uncovered, had been active in the city of Meknes and the towns of El-Hajeb and El-Hoceima in the Northern Rif mountains, the interior ministry said in a statement.

It said the head of the cell had been in contact with Islamic State and had sent volunteers.

"According to intelligence reports, Moroccans fighting in Syria and Iraq have been trained in handling weapons and manufacturing explosives to perpetrate attacks once they return to Morocco," the statement said.

A Moroccan security source told Reuters the government thinks nearly 2,000 Moroccans have fought in Syria's civil war and in Iraq with Islamic State.

"Some 200 have returned home and all of them were arrested, mainly at the airport when their flights landed," the source said.

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