RABAT (Reuters) - Moroccan police have arrested three people on suspicion of hacking telecommunications equipment, including two Turkish nationals who are suspected of having ties to Islamic State, the Interior Ministry said.
Authorities say they have uncovered a series of Islamist militant cells in recent months, including three since the Paris attacks on Nov. 13. The statement said this latest group had been active in the eastern city of Oujda.
“The two Turkish nationals were involved in hacking telephone communications of a Moroccan operator, using developed technical equipment,” it said late on Friday.
“The investigation showed that the two Turkish are supporters of the Islamic State organisation ... and one of them had stayed in a camp in Hama’s province (Syria) where he was trained in handling weapons and took part in battles against the Syrian army,” the statement added.
Moroccan authorities said the two Turks have had contacts with Islamic State operational leaders as they were seeking logistical support. The statement said the Moroccan was also suspected of hacking but gave no further details about him.
The Turkish men are the latest foreigners, including Europeans, that Morocco has arrested on terrorism charges.
Around 1,500 Moroccan nationals are fighting with armed groups in Syria and Iraq, 220 have returned home and been jailed and 286 have been killed, authorities said earlier this year.
Moroccan security officials provided information that helped French police in a raid in the Paris suburb of St. Denis last week, sources say. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected Islamic State mastermind of the Paris attacks, was killed in the raid.
Morocco, a Western ally against Islamist militancy, has also suffered bomb attacks by suspected Islamist fighters, most recently in 2011 in Marrakesh.
Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Patrick Markey and Alison Williams