RABAT – Morocco said Thursday that the alleged members of a jihadi cell it arrested in mid-February, including a French national, were plotting to carry out “biological” attacks in the kingdom.
“Some of the seized substances (from the suspects) are classified by international organizations which specialize in health issues as falling within the category of biological weapons dangerous for their capacity to paralyze and destroy the nervous system and cause death,” the interior ministry said.
“Members of the terrorist cell had prepared these deadly substances with a view to using them in their terrorist projects inside the kingdom,” it said in a statement.
On Feb. 18, the ministry announced it had dismantled a “terrorist cell” of 10 people suspected of having links to the Islamic State group and planning attacks in the North African country.
The suspects, including a Frenchman, were arrested in several towns, it said, without giving further details on their identities.
Morocco has been on guard against deadly attacks like those claimed by Islamic State in Tunisia last year that killed 59 foreign tourists.
Rabat says 152 “terrorist cells” have been busted since 2002, including 31 over the past three years with ties to jihadis in Iraq and Syria.
A study by the U.S.-based Soufan Group said in December that at least 1,200 Moroccans had traveled to fight alongside Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in the past 18 months.