Isis jihadist linked to French plot arrested in Morocco

A suspected Islamic State group jihadist who delivered instructions to a cell planning to carry out an attack in France has been arrested in Morocco, authorities said Saturday.

The suspect was linked with a French Isis cell that had planned to attack Paris on Thursday but was broken up by French authorities in November, the Moroccan interior ministry said.

The suspect had met Isis operatives on the Syrian-Turkish border and received instructions to be delivered to the cell in France, it charged.

The orders came from the jihadist group in territory it controls in Syria and Iraq.

French security services broke up the cell by arresting seven men in Strasbourg and Marseille on November 19 and 20, according to the French interior ministry.

The public prosecutor for Paris later said the men had been in contact with a commander in Iraq or Syria.

A year ago, Moroccan intelligence helped put French investigators on the trail of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a 28-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin who had appeared in grisly IS videos and was linked to a series of plots in Europe.

A study by the US-based Soufan Group said last December that at least 1,200 Moroccans had travelled to fight alongside IS in Iraq and Syria in the previous 18 months.

Morocco has also arrested eight men with alleged ties to IS active in the cities of Fez and Tangiers, the interior ministry said on Friday.


Macron says Isis defeat removes ‘significant threat’ to France

President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that the fall of the last bastion held by Islamic State (Isis) jihadists in Syria removed a source of potential terror attacks against France by fighters based in the so-called "caliphate".

Macron says Isis defeat removes 'significant threat' to France
Photo: AFP

“A significant threat to our country” has been “eliminated”, Macron said on Twitter, while warning that “the threat remains and the fight against terrorist groups must continue.”

Kurdish-led forces pronounced the death of the Islamic State group's nearly five-year-old “caliphate” on Saturday, after flushing out diehard jihadists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.

Fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces raised their yellow flag in Baghouz, the remote riverside village where diehard jihadists of a variety of nationalities made a desperate, dramatic last stand.

The SDF's victory capped a deadly six-month operation against the final remnants of the caliphate which once stretched across a vast swathe of Iraq and Syria, and held seven million people in its sway.    

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