ISIS could MERGE with al-Qaeda to wage all-out war on West, anti-terror chief warns

Thursday, February 8, 2018
By Paul Martin

THE Islamic State has “not disappeared” and could join forces with al-Qaeda, the head of Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), Morocco’s top counter-terror agency, has warned.

Thu, Feb 8, 2018

Abdelhak Khiame said ISIS has not gone away despite having been forced out of Iraq and Syria.

Mr Khiame said: “ISIS has not disappeared, its fighters have moved to countries in the Sahel-Sahara region or to Libya. They choose areas gripped by instability. But their presence poses a direct threat not only to Morocco, but to the entire region.”

The counter-terror chief added that an al Qaeda-ISIS merger could not be ruled out.

He told Le Monde: “It’s a dangerous possibility. Remember that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb controls swathes of territory in southern Algeria and northern Mali.

He warned “although there are marked differences” between the two groups “there are also marked similarities in that they defend the same ideology”.

When asked to explain why so many Moroccan bi-nationals had helped orchestrate or carry out terrorist attacks on European soil, namely the deadly attacks in Paris, Brussels and Barcelona, Mr Khiame said most of the attackers had been radicalised abroad.

He said most Moroccan jihadis “were radicalised while living in Europe”.

Mr Khiame added: “I don’t want European police to get the brunt of the blame, but there is clearly a reason behind this trend, namely the lack of cooperation and intelligence sharing between EU countries.

“Most of the youths were petty criminals who became radicalised during their time in prison. They were not well integrated into society and became indoctrinated by their inmates.”

Mr Khiame said Morocco had reinforced its border security and introduced biometric passports after it was found that an estimated 1,600 Moroccans had fled to Iraq or Syria to wage jihad alongside ISIS.

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