Morocco's Anti-Terrorism Efforts Dismantle al-Qaeda Cell and Earn US Praise

WASHINGTON , May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Morocco's anti-terrorism campaign continued to yield tangible results with last week's arrest of a group of suspected al-Qaeda extremists planning attacks in North Africa and Europe . Morocco's international partners, including the United States , praised Morocco's efforts as a model for combating terrorism in the region and around the world.

On May 19 , Moroccan authorities arrested the 11 suspected terrorists in Nador and Fez, who reportedly were planning attacks on tourist destinations and government facilities in Belgium as well as targets in Morocco . These arrests resulted from the on-going intelligence sharing and cooperation between Morocco , Spain , Belgium , and others to stop the spread of regional terrorist threats, most recent by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Last month, the U.S. State Department Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism praised Morocco's efforts in its annual report to the U.S. Congress, Country Reports on Terrorism 2007. According to the report,

"Morocco's comprehensive counterterrorism strategy not only emphasized identifying and neutralizing existing terrorist threats through traditional law enforcement and security measures, but also engaged in preventative measures to discourage terrorist recruitment through political reform and policy measures. King Mohamed VI led this effort by unambiguously condemning terrorism and those who espouse or conduct terrorism; he recently called terrorism something "alien to Islam and contrary to religion and law."

The report highlighted the "valuable relationship based on cooperation and an ongoing exchange of information", between Morocco and the United States , which has allowed Moroccan authorities to continue to "disrupt plots to attack Moroccan, U.S., and other Western-affiliated targets, and [to] aggressively investigate numerous individuals associated with international terrorist groups."

Also, last week, Morocco joined the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), the U.S.-led international effort to combat the transfer and production of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The United States welcomed Morocco's endorsement of the initiative and cited it as "another example of the close cooperation between the United States and Morocco to combat the greatest threats of our time: global terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

"Morocco and the United States have worked side by side for many decades on critical issues including the fight against terrorism," said Robert Holley , Executive Director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy. "The continued cooperation among Morocco and its international partners to combat the growing terrorist threats increases the real possibility for greater political stability and economic prosperity in the entire region."

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials and an interested public in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa , the Mediterranean, and the Middle East .

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This material is distributed by DJE, Inc. and the Moroccan-American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco . Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC .

SOURCE Moroccan American Center for Policy