Rabat, 3 Sept. (AKI) – An Al-Qaeda cell dismantled by Moroccan police last week had been planning a terrorist attack against United Nations’ peacekeeping forces in the Western Sahara, an Arab newspaper has claimed.
According to Rabat security sources cited in the Arab daily, al-Sharq al-Awsat, members of the Fath al-Andalus cell were planning to attack soldiers from the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara based in al-Ayoun.
According to investigations, the five members of the cell had been in contact via the Internet with Arab Afghanis that had also operated in Iraq, Algeria and Lebanon and were ready to teach them long distance bombing techniques.
Security forces intercepted communication between members of Fatah al-Andalus and representatives of Al-Qaeda as they were discussing preparations for the attacks in a country defined as “very dangerous.”
Three of the five members of the group were found in possession of chemicals and bomb making equipment, according to reports.
The UN mission, known as MINURSO, was deployed in September 1991 to monitor a ceasefire in the Western Sahara, a region which has been in dispute since the withdrawal of Spain in 1976.
The Fath al-Andalus translates as “Combat fo [sic] Islamic Spain” is believed to refer to the Muslim kingdoms that ruled the Iberian Peninsula in southern Spain in medieval times.
The organisation is believed to base their activities on the model established by the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which has carried out many terror attacks in Algeria and Mauritania.