Moroccan Authorities Arrest Six Suspected Terrorists Linked to IS

RABAT (Reuters) -

Moroccan police have arrested six people suspected of belonging to a terror cell with ties to Islamic State, the interior ministry said on Thursday. The cell had been active in Casablanca and the northern city of Tetouan and its neighboring town of Martil, the ministry statement said.

The group was planning to send members to war zones and carry out attacks against Morocco when they return, the ministry said. It gave no further details.

Hundreds of terrorists from Morocco and other Maghreb nations have joined Islamist forces in the conflict in Iraq and Syria, and also in Libya. Some are threatening to return to carry out attacks and recruit more jihadis in their home countries, security experts say.

Moroccan authorities believe around 1,500 Moroccan nationals have left to fight with armed groups in Syria and Iraq, including 220 who have returned home and been jailed and 286 have been killed. Morocco, a Western ally against Islamist militancy, has suffered bomb attacks by suspected Islamist terrorists, most recently in 2011.