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Spain and Morocco: dismantling of a “jihadist cell” preparing attacks

Ⓒ AFP – BLASCO DE AVELLANEDA – | Police arrested as part of anti-jihadist operation in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Morocco on 6 August 2017

The Spanish and Moroccan authorities announced on Wednesday the arrest of six men, members of a “jihadist terrorist cell” which was preparing “large-scale attacks” in Spain and Morocco.

These arrests were announced three weeks after the attacks claimed by the Islamic State Organization (EI), which left 16 dead and over 120 wounded in Catalonia, northeast of Spain. These attacks were perpetrated by young men – of Moroccan nationality – who grew up in Spain.

“The Spanish National Police and the General Security Directorate of the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco have dismantled a jihadist terrorist cell composed of six individuals, including one in Melilla and five in Morocco,” a statement from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Interior published in Madrid.

Ⓒ AFP – BLASCO DE AVELLANEDA – | Police arrested a person in an anti-jihadist operation in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Morocco on 6 September 2017

“The investigation by the Directorate General for Territorial Surveillance (DGS) of the Kingdom of Morocco revealed that this group had planned large-scale terrorist attacks, holding restricted night meetings, physical training and simulated assassination by decapitation, “according to the Interior in Madrid.

For its part, Moroccan news agency MAP, quoting a statement from the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior, refers to “training on how to execute slaughter operations using weapons”.

According to the MAP, the cell “was active in the Beni Chiker region in the suburbs of Nador” (north-eastern Morocco) and its members had “planned the execution of large-scale terrorist operations in Morocco and Spain “.

Five of the suspects arrested are of Moroccan nationality, including one legally resident in Spain. The sixth is “of Spanish nationality and of Moroccan origin”.

Ⓒ AFP – BLASCO DE AVELLANEDA – | Anti-jihadist operation in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Morocco, 6 September 2017

According to Spanish police, the leader of the dismantled cell Wednesday is a 39-year-old Spaniard of Moroccan origin, living in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Morocco. He was “arrested by the authorities of Morocco while he was in that country,” the statement said.

“He took advantage of his job as an auxiliary of education in a center of reeducation of minors to carry out tasks of recruitment and radicalization of these young people in situation of vulnerability,” according to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, the overall strategy of the terrorist organization Daech (Islamic State) “.

MAP mentions “the arrest by the Spanish security services in Melilla of another accomplice of the members of this terrorist cell.”

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