Morocco busts 'terrorist cell' recruiting women for ISIL

RABAT (AA) – Moroccan security agencies have broken up a "terrorist cell" operating in the country's north and in Spain.

The group is suspected of recruiting women with the aim of sending them to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group, Morocco's Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

According to a ministry statement, arrests were made in coordination with Spanish security agencies in the northern Moroccan city of Fnideq, the Spain-administered exclaves of Melilla and Ceuta in northern Morocco, and in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

"Cell members are suspected of recruiting and sending Moroccan and Spanish volunteers to join the ISIL in Syria and Iraq," the statement read.

The ministry said the cell's two leaders had been arrested in Fnideq, while five accomplices were detained by the Spanish authorities in Melilla, Ceuta and Barcelona.

"Investigations showed that female [cell] members were involved in drawing female recruits, who would undergo jihadist training… before being sent to ISIL to be used for suicide attacks or to be married off to the group's fighters," the release added, without disclosing the suspects' identities.

Cell members, the release added, had been in contact with Moroccan ISIL members who had been planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Morocco.

The detentions were the latest in a series of anti-terror operations conducted this year in Melilla, which have led to the arrest of dozens of people.

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