The terrorist organization is reported to have set its central headquarters in the village of Sakhinat, located 20 kilometers from Fez.
Its main activity is the recruitment of fighters and sending them to training camps in the desert area between Algeria, Morocco, Mali and Mauritania, from where they are sent on to terrorist attack operations in Iraq.
The dismantling of this terrorist network was achieved by virtue of intensive investigations carried out by Moroccan security forces last May while tracing nine terrorists who had escaped from Kenitra Central Prison, mid-April, through a tunnel they had dug under the prison grounds.
Moroccan security forces continue to exert pressure on the various Islamist groups including those in the regions of Casablanca, Fes and Nador, widely said to have nurtured terrorists involved in various attacks both within and without the kingdom.
The organization, headed by Abu Makhlouf a native of Fes and said to have ramifications abroad particularly Spain and Belgium, is the most important network of Al Qaeda Maghreb, so far.
The engagement of the Moroccan government within the scope of an international cooperation to fight against terrorism has been rendered difficult due to the infiltration of terrorists into particularly densely populated cities, where they easily blend into the numbers and stay safely out of focus, thus raising the level of insecurity. In recent weeks several suspects from the cities of Nador, Tanger and Casablanca have been arrested.
The Moroccan terrorists and their Algerian counterparts are also reported to have aquired the facilities needed to accomplish their missions against a backdrop of insufficient means from the governments to secure their immense countries’ borders.
The Moroccan, Algerian, Malian and Mauritanian regions bordering the Sahel is a stronghold for terrorists who also recruit among sub-Saharan populations suffering from the degradation of conditions of life.