[Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty Images] Security officers in Morocco rounded up 24 suspected terrorist recruiters.
Moroccan authorities dismantled a terrorist network that allegedly recruited suicide bombers and guerrilla fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. Some 24 suspects in several cities were apprehended as part of a co-ordinated security operation.
Security forces made the arrests in a series of towns. According to the ministry, the network was co-ordinating with terrorist in Sweden, Belgium and the Syria-Iraq area to provide new recruits. The network had already sent twenty volunteers for suicide operations in Iraq, and approached ten more local Islamists for similar purposes.
These advances are part of Morocco's continued fight against terrorism, using a strategy based on vigilance and the dismantling of terrorist cells.
The ministry said that the network was also planning large-scale acts of terrorism in Morocco; to this end, members were preparing to welcome al-Qaeda demolitionists to acquire their knowledge of making explosives.
Mohammed Benhammou, a Moroccan academic who chairs the African Federation for Strategic Studies, told Magharebia that the link with Iraq and other countries mentioned in the press statement is nothing new and that the strategy of recruiting volunteers is well-known. He believes Morocco has nothing to worry about, as long as everyone remains vigilant.
"I believe there is great vigilance in Morocco," he said. "The pre-emptive strike policy is bearing fruit."
Benhammou emphasised that it is essential for all countries to co-ordinate their efforts at the regional and international level to combat the threat. He says co-operation must be clear and serious, and based on real intelligence.He said the real threat is in the Sahel-Sahara area, which is too easily penetrated. It also provides space for terrorist groups to take refuge and to train their recruits, and has also become one of their departure points for movement.Saâddine Othmani, MP and chairman of the national council of the Justice and Development Party, said that recruitment networks for Iraq and other countries now exist all over the world. He said the problem not only concerns Morocco, but extends to all countries due to the effects of globalisation and internet communication. He said that until now, Moroccan security services have been able to impede terrorist cells' activities, and that their campaign must continue to counter the ever-present threat of terrorism...more..http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/features/2009/09/25/feature-01