Saturday, August 19

Morocco tightens border security against influx of Al Qaida from Mali

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CAIRO — Morocco, fearing Al Qaida infiltration, has intensified border security.

Security sources said the North African kingdom has deployed additional troops along its border with neighboring Algeria amid the war in Mali. They said the military and Gendarmerie has been alerted to the prospect that hundreds of Al Qaida fighters could flee Mali and Algeria for Morocco.

Moroccan Gendarmerie.

“There is an alert throughout the region regarding Al Qaida,” a security
source said.

So far, Morocco has not reported an influx of Al Qaida Organization in
the Islamic Maghreb. In 2013, however, Moroccan intelligence units
intercepted and detained several alleged AQIM networks believed to have
recruited Moroccans to fight in Mali and Syria.

The sources said Morocco was concerned by the current AQIM recruitment drive throughout North Africa. In a recent video, AQIM called on Islamists throughout the region to fight in Mali, whose government was backed by the French Air Force.

Morocco does not share a border with Mali. But the sources said hundreds of AQIM fighters were fleeing Mali and moving east through Algeria toward Morocco and Tunisia.

The sources said Morocco has also intensified monitoring of so-called Salafist groups inspired by Al Qaida. They said scores of Salafists have been detained and interrogated over the last month.

“There is no favorable environment or strong and organized networks that would harbor them in Morocco as is the case in Algeria where the head of the AQIM command is based,” Abdullah El Rami, a researcher at Morocco’s Royal Institute for Strategic Studies, told the Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al Awsat.


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