Rabat – The US embassy in Rabat has issued a security alert, upgrading its risk assessment to “Level 2” for possible terrorist attacks in Morocco.
The US embassy is warning tourists to be on alert for possible terrorist attacks, especially in areas foreigners frequent. After a periodic review of security threats, the embassy recommended tourists “exercise increased caution in Morocco due to terrorism.”
The embassy stated, “Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Morocco. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.”
According to its travel advisory map, the US government has also given much of Western Europe, including Spain, France, Germany, and Italy, a Level 2 security alert.
Level 2, which corresponds to “exercise increased caution,” is one step up from Level 1’s “exercise normal precaution,” which countries like the US and Canada have, and one step down from Level 3, “reconsider travel,” which countries like Mauritania and Niger have. The US government also gives a few countries, including Libya, its Level 4 travel advisory, “do not travel.”
In its periodic review last year, the embassy also issued a general warning about possible terrorist attacks in Morocco. “The U.S. government remains concerned that terrorists are intent on targeting U.S. citizens, including children,” it stated.
The Moroccan government has not issued any special alert on the threat of terrorism.
Morocco heightened its security measures ever since the Casablanca terrorist attack in 2003. Since the creation of the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) in 2015, Morocco has busted 49 terrorist cells, 44 of which had links to ISIS, and arrested 772 people in connection to terrorism.
Since 2003, Morocco has experienced two terrorist attacks. In 2011, terrorists bombed the Argana cafe in Jemaa El Fna Square in Marrakech, killing 17 people.
In December 2018, two Scandinavian female tourists were found murdered near Imlil in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains in an apparent terrorist attack.
Morocco’s counter-terrorism policy rests on three key targets: Stepping up internal security, eradicating poverty, and making religious reforms.
Following the Imlil murders, Canada warned its citizens in its updated travel advisory to “exercise a high degree of caution” due to terrorism in Morocco. The United Kingdom also warned its citizens to stay vigilant for any possible terrorist attack in the country.
Source: US Embassy in Morocco Upgrades Security Alert for Terror Risk