Two arrested in Morocco for supporting IS

Morocco`s security services have arrested two Moroccan nationals for supporting the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in this moderate Arab nation`s continuing war against extremist Islam, media reported.

Rabat: Morocco`s security services have arrested two Moroccan nationals for supporting the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in this moderate Arab nation`s continuing war against extremist Islam, media reported.

The operations are part of investigations led by the National Judiciary Police Squad to fight terrorism, in close collaboration with the national territory surveillance department, MAP news agency reported citing a statement by the country`s interior Ministry.

In the city of Al Hoceima, a Moroccan citizen espousing radical Islamist ideas was nabbed Monday following the posting of media content stirring hatred and murder on a religious basis, said the statement Tuesday. The felon was very active on the internet and was spreading IS propaganda via videos and pictures, it said. The culprit is said to be the grandson of two IS fighters who were killed in action in the Syrian-Iraqi zone.

The second, who is an ex-convict in terror-related lawsuits, was arrested Tuesday in the city of Oujda. He was also using the internet to promote the IS and had sworn allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

The two of them will be brought to justice after the completion of the probe conducted under the supervision of the public prosecutor`s department.

Morocco, which is geographically in northern Africa but is close to southern Europe culturally in many ways, has joined three other countries for judicial cooperation to fight the threat of terrorism. Prosecutors in charge of the fight against jihadi terrorism in Spain, Morocco, France and Belgium have agreed to promote judicial cooperation to address this serious threat.

This cooperation will go through real-time information exchange, direct transmission of all legal assistance applications related to cases of international jihadi terrorism and the use of the channels established under agreements and in compliance with the legislation of each country, MAP news agency cited the prosecutors of the four countries as saying Tuesday at the end of a two-day meeting in Cordoba, Spain. 

Presenting the conclusions of the meeting, the chief prosecutor of the Spanish National Court, Javier Zaragoza, said the participants emphasised on the importance of providing a "firmer legal response that is adapted to the singularities of the terrorism phenomenon" in response to "the growing integration of jihadis in the terrorist organisations operating in various conflict zones". 

The attorneys agreed to submit to their governments` "proposals and initiatives aimed at improving the criminal legal framework to ensure greater efficiency in the fight against terrorism, taking into account new risk and threat scenarios of international terrorist", he said.

In recent times, Morocco`s fight against Islamist terrorism is drawing global attention. In an article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Edward M. Gabriel, former US ambassador to Morocco, stated that Morocco has upped the ante in fighting extremism with a multidimensional approach. 

"Ever since the Casablanca terrorist bombings of 2003, Morocco has upped the ante in fighting extremism with a multidimensional approach that combines strong counter-terrorism laws with human-development programmes that go to the root causes of extremism: unemployment, poverty and frustration," he wrote. 

According to Gabriel, to promote the modern and moderate Islamic principles, Morocco has implemented programmes that train religious leaders -- men and women -- on how best to reach and educate vulnerable individuals. 

"The programmes are so innovative that eight African countries -- including Mali, Nigeria and Tunisia -- have requested training from Morocco," he pointed out.