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Abd el-Krim(äb'dĕl-krĭm`), 1882?–1963, leader of the Rif tribes of Morocco, called in full Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Karim al-Khattabi. An important figure in the administration of the Spanish Zone until 1920, he took up arms against Spanish rule. In 1921 his small force defeated a disorganized and ill-equipped Spanish army. In the next three years he strengthened his position and in 1924 drove the Spanish back to Tétouan. After capturing his only rival, Raisuli, he advanced (1925) into the French Zone. Defeated by combined Franco-Spanish forces, he surrendered in 1926 and was deported to Réunion. He escaped (1947) to Egypt, was awarded (1958) the title national hero by King Muhammad V of Morocco, and in 1962 announced he was returning to Morocco. Abd el-Krim died a year later, before he reached his destination.
See study by D. S. Woolman (1968).