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Morocco holds ceremony to commemorate soldier killed by jihadist


A memorial ceremony was held Saturday in M’diq, in the north of Morocco in homage to a Franco-Moroccan officer officer killed five years ago in France by jihadist Mohamed Merah.

Imad Ibn Ziaten was one of seven people killed by the jihadist between 11 and 19 March 2012 in southern France. He is buried in the M’diq cemetery, not far from the town of Tetouan, where his family comes from.

Almost a hundred people, including several Moroccan and French officials, paid tribute to him in the presence of his family members.

Imad’s mother, Latifa Ibn Ziaten, is well known in France for her commitment to enhancing cohesion and in the fight against the radicalization of young Muslims.

“My children sometimes ask me to rest, to stop my visits to schools and prisons even if only one day,” Latifa said in a speech in Arabic.

“But a day of rest is perhaps a life lost, so I have to stand still, it’s my fight,” the slain soldier’s mother added, her hair covered with her usual gray scarf.

A large white marquee had been erected on the edge of the cemetery, where sheaves of flowers had been placed in front of a large smiling portrait of the young man in uniform and red beret of the parachutists on his head.

“Up there, where it is today, Imad must be happy,” Latifa said as she thanked Morocco’s government for organizing the ceremony. “I am always carrying the red beret of my son.”

Located on the heights of M’diq, the cemetery overlooks the mountains of the Rif and the crystal blue Mediterranean beach.

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