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Morocco tightens its border security procedures with Algeria over Eid Al-Adha

The Moroccan authorities announced on Thursday that they will tighten their security procedures and enhance surveillance operations at various crossing points into the country after multiple groups of Moroccan citizens attempted to cross the Moroccan-Algerian border, which has been closed since 1994, on foot to celebrate Eid al-Adha with their families in Morocco, Anadolu news agency reported.

The news agency quoted a statement issued by the Moroccan Ministry of Interior as saying: "The flow of people who tried to cross the Moroccan-Algerian border illegally requires stricter control in order to be able to prevent people with bad intentions from having access to the national territory."

It is noteworthy that the Moroccan-Algerian land border has been closed since 1994, when the authorities in Rabat imposed entry visa requirements on Algerian nationals after accusing Algeria of being involved in the bombings that targeted hotels in Marrakech.

According to the statement, dozens of Moroccans residing in Algeria were temporarily arrested at the Moroccan-Algerian border, without explaining whether the Moroccan security had released those arrested or referred them to the prosecution.

These security measures taken by the Moroccan authorities reportedly fall under the umbrella of "procedures responding to terrorist threats that target Morocco".

According to Anadolu, the Moroccan government said on 10 July that the available intelligence information indicates that there is "a serious threat of a terrorist attack directed against the Kingdom of Morocco and is particularly linked to the increasing number of Moroccans affiliated with terrorist organisations in Syria and Iraq."

In previous statements, Moroccan Interior Minister Mohammed Hassad had said to the Moroccan parliament that "there are more than 1,122 Moroccans fighting in Syria and Iraq and this number rises to between 1,500 and 2,000 Moroccans if we count those who flew from Europe to join the Islamic State."

Moroccan security authorities, in coordination with their Spanish counterparts, were able to dismantle a terrorist cell last week that was active in Nador in the north and Melilla under Spanish control. The cell was reportedly planning to "transfer the experience the Islamic State to Morocco".

A statement from the Moroccan Ministry of Interior added that the members of the cell were calling themselves supporters of an Islamic state in Morocco and saying that they had joined forces with the so-called Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria.

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