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French al-Qaida recruiter arrested in Tangiers

July 28, 2014

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Moroccan police have arrested a French citizen of Algerian origin near Tangiers on suspicion of recruiting men to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight for al-Qaida, authorities said.

A statement issued by the Interior Ministry late Sunday described the suspect as a veteran member of the international terror network, who fought in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bosnia. It said he was charged with raising funds and manpower for fighting in Syria.

While Morocco has experienced few terrorist attacks compared to its neighbors, it is turning into a major source of recruits for conflicts in Mali, Syria and elsewhere.

Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad said on July 15 that 1,212 Moroccans belong to terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria and several Moroccans have committed suicide attacks there.

The worry in Morocco is that many of these trained fighters will one day return to carry out attacks in the kingdom.

Authorities have repeatedly announced the dismantling of cells recruiting for al-Qaida, especially in the northern cities.

According to the statement, the suspect arrived in Morocco on July 21, traveling via Tunisia and Libya and was arrested on Saturday in the main container port of Tanger-Med.

He was recruiting for the al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, authorities said.

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