Suspected Islamic State bombmaker on trial in Morocco

The 24-year-old Moroccan suspect was active in the city of Sala Al Jadida and was in the advanced stages of planning attacks, police said.

A police officer stands near a Moroccan national flag near the main stadium during preparations for the FIFA Club World Cup in Agadir, December 10, 2013. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMR ABDALLAH DALSH)
A police officer stands near a Moroccan national flag near the main stadium during preparations for the FIFA Club World Cup in Agadir, December 10, 2013.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMR ABDALLAH DALSH)

A suspected Islamic State militant and bombmaker went on trial in a Moroccan court on terrorism charges after his arrest in cooperation with US intelligence, police said.

The 24-year-old Moroccan was active in the city of Sala Al Jadida near the capital, Rabat, and was in the advanced stages of planning attacks, police said in a statement.

He was arrested on Dec. 16 as part of an operation in cooperation with US intelligence and security agencies, police said without offering further details.

"This operation reaffirms the importance and efficiency of the close bilateral cooperation between the Moroccan police and intelligence and US intelligence and security agencies on the field of countering violent extremism and terrorism," the statement said.

Compared with other countries in North Africa, Morocco has been largely insulated from militant attacks. The most recent took place in December 2018 when two Scandinavian tourists were killed in the mountains near Marrakech.

A view shows empty streets after authorities prevented a protest in the capital Rabat against the kingdom's move to normalise ties with Israel following a deal brokered by US President Donald Trump on December 14, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)A view shows empty streets after authorities prevented a protest in the capital Rabat against the kingdom's move to normalise ties with Israel following a deal brokered by US President Donald Trump on December 14, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

Morocco’s counterterrorism agency, known as BCIJ, has arrested 65 militant suspects so far this year.

The United States declared Morocco a major non-NATO ally in 2004 and both are members of the Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State.