Morocco nabs terror cell targeting Jews

Cell also planned to assassinate cabinet ministers; Moroccan political party banned for al-Qaida ties.

Bin Laden 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Bin Laden 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Morocco said Thursday it has dismantled a terrorist network that raised funds through holdups and jewelry thefts in Europe and was plotting to assassinate Cabinet ministers, army officers and Jews in the North African kingdom. Thirty-two suspected terrorists were arrested in the operation, including Muhammad Mirwani, who heads the unauthorized "Umma Party", and Hizbullah's Al-Manar satellite TV correspondent in Morocco, 'Abd Al-Hafid Sriti. The official MAP news agency also reported Wednesday night that the North African kingdom banned an Islamist political party, Al Badil Al Hadari (Civilized Alternative), because some members were linked to the network. MAP said authorities discovered a vast stash of weapons while dismantling the network, which they believe is linked to Al-Qaida and local terror groups. Among those arrested was CA General-Secretary Mu'stafa M'uta'sim. The Moroccan police said it had evidence proving a link between the CA and Al-Qaida. Investigations by the Moroccan security authorities are said to have proved that Belliraj had contacts with Al-Qaida in Afghanistan, Morocco, and Algeria between 2001 and 2005, Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa said at a news conference on Wednesday. Benmoussa added that there were attempts in 2002 to arrange for training in Hizbullah training camps in Lebanon. He said some of the network members had been trained to handle weapons and explosives thanks to relations established by 'Abd Al-Qadir Belliraj with international terror organizations.