‘Real armed commando’: Police bust ISIS terror cell preparing ‘chemical attack’ in Morocco

A member of the of the Central Office of Criminal Investigation (BCIJ) shows during a press conference by the BCIJ's chief Abdelhak el-Khiam, ammunition and weapons seized by Moroccan authorities as they carried out raids against a "terrorist cell", in the capital Rabat, on February 19, 2016. © AFP
Moroccan authorities have dismantled an ISIS terrorist cell, described as “the most dangerous” ever, which was planning attacks potentially involving chemical weapons. Among the arrested was a 16yo who had allegedly been trained to carry out a suicide bombing.

In a police raid on a “safe house” in El Jadida on Thursday, police arrested a 10-member cell and confiscated a large cache of weapons consisting of automatic machine guns, revolvers, and a rifle that were brought from Libya. An Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) flag was also reportedly seized in the raid.

Among those detained was one French national and a 16-year old teenager, who received training to carry out a suicide car bomb attack, Director of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), Abdelhak Khiame, said at a press conference on Friday.

“It's far from a terrorist cell, it is a real armed commando,” Khiame said. “The 10-member cell was commandos acting based on precise plans designed by IS.”

The cell members were active in the cities of Essaouira, Meknès and Sidi Kacem, and Laayoune. The terrorist gang also set up a training camp in Sehb El Harcha.

“These people were trained on site in coordination with Daesh, which provided them with the necessary arms,” BCIJ director said, explaining that this signals a change of tactic in the Islamic State which until now trained their cell members inside Syria and Iraq.

Khiame added that authorities also recovered toxic biological and chemical substances that could be used to make the explosives. Six jars seized in the raid contained an agricultural fertilizer with high sulfur content.

“This material allows to make homemade explosives of fearsome power,” Ahmed Rami from the BCIJ told Huffington Post Morocco. “Once heated to a high temperature, this material releases toxic gas that leads to certain death."

Another three jars contained an orange color mix which “when stored in an anaerobic environment creates tetanus toxin, which once contracted, attacks the central nervous system and causes death,” a member of the service risk management at BCIJ explained to HuffPost.

BCIJ claims to have dismantled 152 militant cells since 2002, including 31 since 2013 that were linked to armed terrorist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq.