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Allmode Advisory: Morocco

Security risk

Advisory Type: Morocco terror threat level raised to HIGH
Date: 02/09/15
Information Source: Allmode

On September 1st 2015, the UK Foreign Office took the decision to raise the terror threat for Morocco to HIGH. This now brings Morocco into line with its neighbouring countries of Algeria, Libya and Tunisia.

This decision has been taken a week after the Spanish and Moroccan police dismantled a terror cell of 14 suspects who are believed to belong to an ISIS cell based in Madrid. The cell was supposedly plotting a series of attacks in Morocco, particularly targeted at areas popular with tourists.

A Foreign Office spokesman said that, "The Moroccan authorities have warned of an increased threat and regularly report the disruption of terrorist cells in Morocco."

The FCO believes British nationals are a particular target for terrorists.
At present, the FCO have issued threat warnings for the following countries: 

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Seventeen people were killed and 25 injured in an explosion at a restaurant in Marrakech in April 2011.

The security forces have advised that protective security measures are in place at many Moroccan hotels and sites popular with tourists. Security measures, including security personnel, may be visible in certain areas

The Moroccan authorities have warned of an increased threat linked to the growing number of Moroccans sympathetic or belonging to international terrorist organisations operating in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and regularly report the disruption of terrorist cells.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. 

Allmode Advice:

In the light of this information, Allmode would advise that visiting British Nationals should take extra precautions and have a heightened sense of security, particularly when visiting popular tourist sites.

Other “westerners”, who (in the minds of the attackers) are likely to be conflated with British Nationals during an indiscriminate attack, or who have a similar level of threat directed against them, are also advised exercise sufficient security arrangements.

Facilities/Resorts:

Industrial Facilities and tourist resorts in North Africa have proven to be highly vulnerable and attractive targets in recent years. One only has to consider the two most high profile attacks: the Tigantourine gas plant in Algeria (80+ Dead) and the Imperial Marhaba/ Bellevue Park hotel beach shooting (38 dead) to understand that that these amenities/infrastructure are difficult to protect, and are seen as being high-profile targets due to their role as critical national infrastructure and/or economic importance for the host country. They were also selected because of the high proportion of westerners present (expat staff and tourists) and the associated worldwide media attention that this would garner.

Similar facilities and resorts exist in Morocco - it can be compellingly assumed that these structures will be the targets of future plots and attacks.

Managers, owners and operators of such assets should carefully assess or re-assess their security provision, most likely with the expert assistance of industry experts.

Vessels/Yachts:

Similarly, vessels, and especially yachts, can be presumed to be targets of such attacks for the very same reasons. The conspicuous display of wealth, the physical vulnerability and destructibility of a vessel, and the economic/political ramifications of an attach directed against a foreign (western) asset all conspire to put vessels and yachts at high risk in this area.

Prudent managers, charters and owners will be seeking expert advice, guidance and the provision of mitigation measures.

Individuals:

The threat to the individual underlies both of the above considerations. While the treat from violent crime is low, petty crime is common.

There is no history or major criminal related hostage taking, however, the threat from terrorist related kidnapping cannot justifiably be ruled out, as it is the MO of accosted Islamist/Salafist groups to engage in hostage taking for ransom and/or publicity.

The treat of becoming involved in a major terrorist attack, directed towards a tourist amenity, foreign owned commercial property, local government or security forces or merely an indiscriminate attack stands. Professional advice and assistance should be sought. 

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