Morocco’s BCIJ Dismantles Terrorist Cell, Prevents Attacks

Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) dismantled a terrorist cell early on Tuesday, May 14. The cell members were active in the cities of Tiznit and Sidi Slimane. Four individuals, aged between 22 and 44, were arrested. Here are the details of their grim plans.

The Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), under the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DGST), has once again struck a blow against extremist circles in Morocco. Early on Tuesday, May 14, the BCIJ dismantled a terrorist cell whose members were active in the cities of Tiznit and Sidi Slimane and had pledged allegiance to the terrorist organization Daesh.

A BCIJ statement revealed that four individuals were arrested during this operation, which was conducted by the Special Forces of the Rapid Intervention Brigade. The suspects are aged between 22 and 44 years old.

This extensive security operation carried out by the Special Forces of the Rapid Intervention Brigade led to the apprehension of four extremists, aged 22 to 44 (BCIJ statement).

The searches conducted at the suspects’ homes resulted in the seizure of paramilitary equipment, including a tactical vest, a helmet, a sight, a balaclava, extremist manuscripts, and electronic devices that will undergo necessary digital analysis.

Initial findings from the investigation revealed that the members of this cell were involved in suspicious activities to mobilize financial resources and logistical support to carry out terrorist projects within the kingdom, aiming to disrupt public order (BCIJ).

Morocco plays a crucial role in the fight against terrorism, actively dismantling terrorist cells and preventing potential threats within its borders. Through the efforts of organizations like the BCIJ and DGST, Morocco continues to be a key player in maintaining regional and global security.

File photo, Moroccan special forces stand guard at the entrance of a building during an anti-terrorist operation - REUTERS/YOUSSEF BOUDLAL

Chronological Operations of Morocco Against Terrorism

Early 2000s:

  • 2003 Casablanca Bombings: On May 16, 2003, a series of coordinated suicide bombings occurred in Casablanca, killing 33 civilians and 12 bombers. This tragic event marked a significant escalation in Morocco’s efforts to combat terrorism.


  • Establishment of the BCIJ: In response to the 2003 bombings, Morocco strengthened its security apparatus, leading to the establishment of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) in 2015. The BCIJ was created to enhance counter-terrorism operations and intelligence gathering.


  • Anti-Terrorism Legislation: Morocco enacted stringent anti-terrorism laws, including the 2014 law that criminalized joining or attempting to join terrorist organizations. This legal framework provided a robust tool for law enforcement agencies.


  • BCIJ Formation: The BCIJ, often referred to as Morocco’s FBI, was officially launched. It operates under the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DGST) and focuses on counter-terrorism, organized crime, and drug trafficking.


  • Operations Against ISIS Cells: The BCIJ dismantled multiple ISIS-affiliated cells across Morocco, arresting dozens of suspects and seizing weapons and explosives. Notable operations included the dismantling of a cell in Essaouira and another in Fez.


  • Prevention of Major Attacks: The BCIJ foiled several major terrorist plots, including a planned attack targeting tourist sites and government buildings. Key operations took place in cities like Tangier, Tetouan, and Oujda.


  • Arrests and Seizures: The BCIJ conducted successful raids, arresting numerous suspects and confiscating significant amounts of paramilitary equipment. A notable operation in March led to the arrest of suspects in Rabat and Temara.


  • COVID-19 and Terrorism: Despite the pandemic, the BCIJ continued its operations, dismantling several terrorist cells. A prominent case involved a cell in Tangier planning to exploit the health crisis for terrorist activities.


  • Enhanced International Cooperation: Morocco strengthened its counter-terrorism collaboration with international partners, including the United States, Spain, and France. Joint operations and intelligence sharing became more prominent.


  • High-Profile Arrests: The BCIJ made high-profile arrests, including the detention of a suspected terrorist in Casablanca who was plotting attacks against critical infrastructure.


  • Foiling of Terrorist Plots: In a significant operation, the BCIJ dismantled a cell in Tetouan that was in the advanced stages of planning attacks. This highlighted Morocco’s proactive approach to preventing terrorism.

Through continuous efforts and a proactive approach, Morocco has established itself as a leader in the fight against terrorism, ensuring the safety and security of its citizens and contributing to regional stability.

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