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Islamic terror suspect 'planned attacks on high-profile people'
Mohammed Echaabi, of Moroccan origin, was intending to target 'high-profile persons and other objects in keeping with the global Yihad, or Holy War', according to the ministry for the interior.
It is not thought he belongs to any cell or commando, but was found to be involved in acquiring firearms and explosives.
Investigators say there are similarities between the suspect and the terrorist Mohammed Merah, who caused various deaths when he bombed Toulouse, France, last March.
Police say that 'in order to acquire his extremist convictions', Echaabi left Spain and travelled to the Gaza strip in January 2011, where he intended to carry out a suicide bombing in relation to the situation between Israel and Palestine.
Echaabi is said to be a 'sole agent' who was recruited by fundamentalist organisations, and who was 'trained' online with material which indoctrinated him about violent terrorist techniques.
The ministry of the interior says that in order to hide their radical views and blend in with the rest of society where they live, fundamentalist organisations allow their members to deliberately flout the rules of Islam – examples being drinking alcohol, smoking, wearing Western clothes, or eating ham, pork and bacon – to avoid suspicion.
This practice is apparently being 'especially recommended' by the current leaders of A-Qaeda, under the rule of Ayman al-Zawahiri – who took over from the late Osama bin Laden.
It is aimed to allow terrorists to carry out attacks individually and independently through any means and as discreetly as possible, a situation which presents a real threat to the global war on terrorism due to its complexity and requires the cooperation of police forces from several countries at the same time.
Echaabi is due to testify in court tomorrow, where it will be decided whether he will be held in custody and on what conditions.
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