Moroccan intelligence report warns of possible new terrorist strikes
Kingdom’s agents say threat is ongoing despite claiming to have foiled attacks.
Moroccan authorities have made public an intelligence report warning that Islamic fundamentalist terrorism remains an ever-present threat in the North African kingdom and that attacks such as the March 11, 2004 massacre in Madrid or the Casablanca suicide bombings in 2003 could be repeated in Spain, Morocco or neighboring countries.
The 110-page report, which was first presented last month at a counter-terrorism summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was drafted by Morocco’s Territorial Surveillance Directorate (DST), a counterespionage and political police agency, and the Moroccan National Judicial Police. It recounts in detail Morocco’s efforts to combat Islamist terrorism and aspects of the March 11 and Casablanca bombings, as well as highlighting small-scale attacks and robberies allegedly perpetrated by Islamic extremists in Morocco in recent years that gained little or no attention abroad.
The report concludes by warning that despite domestic and international counterterrorism efforts, terrorist groups that “maintain close relationships with Islamic movements are easily capable of infiltrating any place and can carry out attacks at any time.”
It also notes that Islamist terrorist organizations have branched out into other criminal activities as a means of financing their operations, arguing that much of the money used to finance the March 11 attacks in Madrid came from drug trafficking.
“The savage and bloody acts [of March 11] were financed by drug trafficking endorsed by a fatwa from within the terrorist organization responsible for the attacks,” the report states, noting that the fatwa, or Islamic edict, “provided religious legality to the use of criminal acts, such as drug trafficking, to finance the perpetration of any action aimed at destroying the infidel enemy.”
In stressing the growing relationship between Islamist terrorism and organized crime, Moroccan authorities also point to other incidents above and beyond the March 11 attacks and the Casablanca bombings in May 2003.
The report also lists terrorist plots that the police have discovered and managed to prevent, among them attacks against foreign interests, including embassies, hotels and fast-food restaurants, churches and synagogues.
Nonetheless, the report argues that Moroccan security forces have managed to “dismantle the most important” terrorist networks in the country, arresting more than 2,000 for terrorism-related crimes.
El Pais Spain