World Tribune.com

Morocco on 'extreme alert' for terror attacks

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Friday, April 20, 2007

CAIRO Morocco is bracing for imminent Al Qaida suicide bombings.

"Morocco is in a state of extreme alert and this situation prevails as much in Casablanca as in other cities and sensitive zones in the country," Moroccan Communications Minister Nabil Bin Abdullah said. "Terrorism can strike any time."

The alert was reported on April 18 in wake of a series of suicide bombings in Casablanca. So far, the attacks have not resulted in casualties other than the bombers themselves, Middle East Newsline reported.

Officials said a security alert has been relayed to authorities in several major cities in the North African kingdom. They said the most likely target of an Al Qaida attack remains Casablanca.

Officials said Morocco has increased security around foreign installations and major hotels. They said churches and synagogues have also come under additional protection.

"Moroccan authorities have beefed up security at consulates, hotels frequented by foreigners and religious places," Bin Abdullah said.

Officials said Moroccan security forces have captured a suspect believed to have assembled the explosive vests given to suicide bombers. They said the unidentified suspect assembled at least 15 such vests as well as other types of bombs.

The alleged bombmaker was said to have provided authorities with the chemicals used in the explosive vests. Officials quoted the suspect as saying that the suicide bombers were told to roam urban areas and determine targets.

The suicide bombings were attributed to an Al Qaida-aligned network based in Casablanca. Officials said more than 30 Moroccans, believed aided by Al Qaida commanders abroad, have assembled or acquired explosive vests and targeted U.S. diplomatic missions, Western shipping and strategic sites in the kingdom.

"The fight for us is on two fronts," Bin Abdullah said, "to protect citizens and ensure the stability of the country and to continue building a strong democracy which is being targeted by terrorists and to strengthen social and democratic development."


Copyright 2007 East West Services, Inc.

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