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210 terrorist cells dismantled in Morocco since 2012

To face the terrorist dangers that threaten it, Morocco is adopting a comprehensive, inclusive and multidimensional security approach, said in Rabat, the Comptroller General of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), Mohamed Nifaoui.

Immediately after the attacks of May 16, 2003 in Casablanca, Morocco began to strengthen its security by adopting a comprehensive, inclusive and multidimensional security approach, essentially based on the consolidation of the legal arsenal and the modernization of security mechanisms in order to face terrorist threats and dangers, in perfect harmony with the principles of security governance made up of responsibility and respect for human rights, underlined Nifaoui during a National Conference organized by the Moroccan Observatory on Extremism and violence (OMEV), on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the events of May 16, 2003.

Since the bloody terrorist attacks of May 16, 2003, which targeted five sites in Casablanca and left 45 victims and dozens injured, Morocco has realized that no country is immune to the danger of this destructive phenomenon, he indicated.

And to continue that this proactive security approach, supported by legal legislation, has allowed the dismantling of several terrorist cells and the failure of several destructive operations, especially after the appearance of the so-called Islamic State organization on the scene of conflict in the Syrian-Iraqi region and the emergence of its cells in other regions of the world.

In this regard, the official explained that thanks to the proactive security approach adopted by the Kingdom since the attacks of May 16, 2003 in Casablanca, tangible results have been obtained in the fight against terrorist crime, indicating that 210 cells terrorists have been dismantled and 4304 individuals arrested since 2002, while 88 cells with close links to terrorist groups on the Syrian-Iraqi scene, in particular Daesh, have been dismantled since early 2013, in addition to the abortion of more than 500 destructive projects. In addition, Nifaoui said that since its creation, the BCIJ has achieved positive results in the fight against crime, succeeding in dismantling 83 terrorist cells, 77 of which are unrelated to Daesh.

In addition, 21 terrorist cells were dismantled in 2015, against 19 in 2016, 9 in 2017, 11 in 2018, 14 in 2019, 8 in 2020 and one cell in 2021. Eight of these cells were armed, he added, noting that the BCIJ has also succeeded in arresting 1347 people in connection with terrorist cases, including 54 with a criminal record in terrorism cases, 14 women and 34 minors. Regarding people returning from conflict zones, the BCIJ treated 137 cases, including 115 returning from the Syrian-Iraqi zone, 14 from Libya and 8 people who were repatriated from Syria, he said.

Nifaoui also reported the presence of some 1659 Moroccan fighters in the Syrian-Iraqi conflict zone, including 225 with a history of terrorism cases, while the number of those returning to the country reached 270 people, 137 of whom have had their cases handled by the BCIJ, at a time when more than 745 others have been killed on the ground, most of them carrying out suicide attacks.

As for the women, they are about 288 to have joined the Syrian-Iraqi zone, of which only 99 have returned to the country, in addition to 391 children, of which only 82 have returned, he said.

Morocco has also contributed to thwarting terrorist projects abroad, through joint coordination and cooperation with its partners and the exchange of information and experiences, said Nifaoui.

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