Three Moroccans affiliated with the Islamic State (EI) jihadist group and suspected of murdering a policeman, whose charred body was found in early March near Casablanca, were arrested Wednesday, police said.

According to a statement from the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN), the two main suspects were arrested following “security operations” in Casablanca and in the region of Sidi Hrazem, near Fez (north). A third man was arrested in a subsequent operation in Casablanca, the same source said.

According to the first elements of the investigation, they had recently pledged allegiance to the EI and “were determined to engage in a terrorist project” by killing a policeman, the statement added.

Local media had initially suggested a common crime involving drug traffickers.

The charred and mutilated body of a policeman — a traffic officer killed with a knife — was discovered on March 2 in a rural area of the Casablanca region.

According to the DGSN, the three suspects intended to steal his service weapon to rob a bank branch.

They were taken into custody and the investigation was handed over to the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), responsible for the fight against terrorism.

While the kingdom has been spared violence linked to jihadist groups in recent years, the security services regularly report anti-Is raids and foiled attack projects.

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