U.S. issues warning for citizens in Morocco

Thursday, September 18, 2003

CAIRO The United States has warned its citizens that they could come under Islamic insurgency attacks in Morocco.

U.S. officials said new intelligence information gleaned from interrogations of Al Qaida suspects have disclosed plans to attack Americans in the North African kingdom. They said Islamic groups linked to Al Qaida have been discussing ambushes of American motorists and diners.

The U.S. embassy in Rabat has warned Americans of the prospects of a wave of Islamic attacks. The embassy called on U.S. nationals to avoid meetings in places frequented by foreigners.

At least 24 people have been arrested in Morocco earlier this month in connection with a plot to blow up a supermarket in Rabat in a suicide attack, Middle East Newsline reported. The supermarket, which was not identified, was said to have been frequented by Americans and other Westerners.

The embassy also called on Americans in Morocco to change their daily routine and route to work. The Americans were also warned to avoid restaurants that serve alcohol.

"Be aware of local norms and customs to avoid inadvertently offending people," the embassy said. "Lower your profile when in public so as not to attract attention. Avoid heightening levels of risk by reducing your exposure to places or events that could be considered high value targets for terrorists."

Officials said the United States has determined that Americans come under particular threat from the Salafist Jihadiya group. Salafist was said to have been responsible for the suicide attacks in Casablanca on May 16.

The group was believed to have also embarked on a campaign to attack Jews and Westerners in major cities throughout the kingdom. Over the last week, two Moroccan Jews were killed in street attacks.

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