SALE, Morocco, Feb 20, (RTRS): Moroccan authorities said on Friday they had arrested 10 suspected militants linked to the Islamic State, including a French citizen, and seized weapons and bombmaking materials in raids on their hideouts. The cell is the latest in a series of radical groups Morocco says it has uncovered. Thursday’s raids took place at locations the group used in the southern city of Essaouira and the central cities of Meknes and Sidi Kacem, authorities said.
At the offices of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), reporters were shown weapons, ammunition, tasers, swords and bomb materials seized from hideouts. BCIJ is the judicial wing of Morocco’s domestic intelligence service. “This new cell is too dangerous … I don’t call it a cell but an armed brigade,” bureau head Abdelhak al-Khayyam told reporters.
Meanwhile, Morocco has decided not host the 2016 Arab League meeting, saying on Friday it wanted to avoid giving a false impression of unity in the Arab world. The annual meeting, which would have been the group’s 27th, was initially set for on March 29 in the Moroccan tourist city of Marrakesh but had already been postponed to April 7 at Saudi Arabia’s request. “Amid the lack of important decisions and concrete initiatives to submit to the heads of states, this summit will be just an other occasion to approve ordinary resolutions and to pronounce speeches that give a false impression of unity,” a statement from the Moroccan foreign ministry said. “Arab leaders cannot confine themselves, once more, to simply analysing the bitter situation of divergences and divisions without giving decisive responses,” it added.
Saudi Arabia said on Friday it suspended a $3 billion aid package for the Lebanese army in what a official called a response to Beirut’s failure to condemn attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. The region is riven by the rivalry between Sunni Muslim power Saudi Arabia and the leading Shi’ite power Iran. The two are backing different sides in Syria’s civil war and different factions in neighbouring Lebanon.