Moroccan security forces
Moroccan security forces
1. In June 2010 the Moroccan security forces detained an 11-man terrorist squad headed by an operative from the Gaza Strip who had formerly belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and was influenced by Al-Qaeda’s ideology.
2. The squad was planning to carry out a series of terrorist attacks against tourist and army targets throughout the country, and to assassinate prominent Moroccan figures, including Jews.1 The activities of the network, whose roots lay in the Gaza Strip, are another example of the development of the global jihad in the Gaza Strip and the Strip’s becoming a regional exporter of terrorism.
Information about the global jihad network in Morocco and its leader
3. The global jihad network detained in Morocco had 11 members, some from Casablanca, Azilal (in the Atlas Mountains) and Oujda (in eastern Morocco). In addition, the network included Palestinian elements. It was headed by Yahya al-Hindi, aka Abu Kathada al-Shami, a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip. In the past he was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative and was influenced by the ideology of Al-Qaeda.
4. In 2006 Yahya al-Hindi established a terrorist network in the Gaza Strip affiliated with the global jihad, which called itself The Unity of Allah and Jihad in the Land of Ribat.2 The network planned attacks against Israel and several times claimed responsibility for rocket attacks targeting communities in the western Negev. According to media reports, al-Hindi visited Afghanistan, where he underwent military training at Taliban camps. He was also trained in manufacturing and using explosives (Agence France-Presse, June 22, 2010; Arab Maghreb News Agency, June 21, 2010; posterous.com, July 2, 2010).
5. While in Afghanistan, he joined Al-Qaeda operatives, including operatives from Morocco. When he returned to the Gaza Strip he contacted them though jihadist websites, and they remained in contact for three years.
6. This past May he entered Morocco (after four previous attempts failed), claiming he was engaged to marry a Moroccan girl (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, June 23, 2010). His real objective was to set up his network, train and use it to carry out terrorist attacks (Al-Massae, Morocco, June 26, 2010).3 To that end, its operatives traveled extensively throughout the country, looking for locations where they would be able to train.4 In June 2010 the Moroccan security forces exposed the network.
7. The Moroccan newspaper Al-Massae reported that in 2002 an Al-Qaeda squad was captured which was planning to carry out attacks on NATO targets in Gibraltar. Three of its operatives were Saudi Arabians who used a modus operandi similar to al-Hindi’s, that is, marriage to local women to access to local society, where they remained for long periods of time (Al-Massae, June 26, 2010). 5
1 http://medo2010.akbarmontada.com/montada-f27/topic-t19166.htm, a Moroccan forum which quoted the Moroccan paper Al-Alam, June 27, 2010.
2 The land of the ribat ("frontier") is the term for the outskirts of Muslim territory where battles are fought between Muslims and infidels to defend Islamic lands. The term is used to refer to "Palestine," which is considered an "occupied" [by Israel] land. The Palestinians are considered a kind of garrison whose role is to participate in the future jihad to liberate the holy places of Islam. The terrorist organization Fath al-Islam also uses the term the land of ribat.