Morocco shuffles security chiefs after Al Qaida attack

Thursday, July 31, 2003

CAIRO Morocco has replaced its national security chief in wake of the May 16 Al Qaida attacks in the North African kingdom.

King Mohammed has fired Hafez Bin Hashem as director of national security. Bin Hashem was replaced by Gen. Hamido Al Unaikri, director of state security affairs.

Officials said the move was part of a reshuffle of police and security chiefs in wake of the Al Qaida bombings in Casablanca. Al Qaida deployed 14 bombers in attacks that killed 44 people, Middle East Newsline reported. The kingdom has placed 52 people on trial in connection with the bombings.

Unaikri is regarded as a confidante of the king and a rising member of the regime. He was appointed director of state security affairs two months after the king's accession to the throne in 1999.

The king has also replaced the directors of the Moroccan national police and intelligence agency. Ahmed Harari was appointed head of the national intelligence agency.

Officials said the king has also reshuffled senior officials at the Interior Ministry. They did not elaborate.

On Wednesday, the king warned that he would not tolerate the use of Islam to promote violence. He said Morocco would also ban the use of Islamic ritual that was foreign to the kingdom's tradition.

"No party or group can pretend to be the spokesman or tutor of Islam," the king said.

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