“A senior European diplomat said the most widespread speculation among his colleagues was Moroccan authorities feared the possibility of a suicide bomb attack at the peak of the summer tourist season.”
By Lamine Ghanmi for Reuters:
RABAT (Reuters) – Morocco has raised its terrorism threat level to “maximum,” the highest category indicating a radical Islamist attack is expected imminently, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The decision was announced after a meeting of chiefs of police, intelligence and paramilitary forces in the capital Rabat.
Analysts and diplomats said recent visits to Morocco by top European and U.S
security officials underscored the imminence of the threat as well as the role the North African kingdom was playing in the U.S.-declared global fight against terrorism.
They pointed to repeated al Qaeda threats to hit Morocco and other North
African states, citing the appearance on video early this week of Ayman al-Zawahri, al Qaeda’s
number two, to urge the overthrow of what he called “corrupt” Muslim governments.
“This alert level indicates a serious threat of terrorist action and requires the extreme mobilization of the security organs,” the ministry said, describing the threat in terms Moroccan officials routinely apply to radical Islamists.
It cited “reliable intelligence information” but gave no details about any specific attack threat.
One security analyst said: “I suspect the authorities made an arrest and obtained precise information. That information could have been corroborated by intelligence coming from Western allies of Morocco.”
A senior European diplomat said the most widespread speculation among his
colleagues was Moroccan authorities feared the possibility of a suicide bomb attack at the
peak of the summer tourist season.
“We have no precise information on that but it is the scenario the most talked about by foreign diplomats here,” he said.