Morocco court sentences 2 clerics for Casablanca bombing

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

CAIRO Morocco has identified two Islamic clerics as the masterminds behind Al Qaida-financed suicide strikes in the North African kingdom.

Abdul Wahab Rafiki and Hassan Ketani were identified as having established a cell that engaged in sabotage and murder. Both clerics were identified as leaders of the banned Salfiya Jihadiya group, aligned with Al Qaida.

A Moroccan court, which sentenced the two clerics to long prison terms on Thursday, said Ketani and Rafiki inspired the May 16 suicide strikes in Casablanca in which 45 people were killed. Officials said Al Qaida financed the strikes and that Rafiki, also known as Abu Hafs, was a liasion with the group headed by Osama Bin Laden.

Ketani was sentenced to 20 years in prison and Rafiki received 30 years, Middle East Newsline reported. The prosecution had demanded the death sentence although they said the clerics did not plan the operation.

"Although Hassan Ketani and Abdul Wahab Rafiki were not active on the ground, they were the brains behind the kamikaze cell that carried out the five suicide attacks in Casablanca," the prosecution said.

Anti-God scientists may not be as all-knowing as they think
The pig-headed scientist who refuses to admit reality is really just a pathetic creature of the pathetic anti-God clan, which seems to now infest the institutes of higher learning of this nation: Read on . . .

[In an unrelated development, the State Department has issued a warning of the prospect of an attack on American citizens in Yemen. The U.S. embassy in Sanaa called on Americans in Yemen to "exercise particular caution at locations frequented by foreigners."]

Morocco has arrested nearly 650 people in wake of the May 16 suicide strikes. In all 16 people have been sentenced to death.

Among those prosecuted during the crackdown were 14-year-old twin sisters accused of plotting suicide attacks, including a strike against Morocco's King Mohammed. The trial was expected to conclude on Tuesday with final statements by the defense.

In a related development, Algeria and Morocco plan to establish a committee to launch cooperation against Islamic insurgency groups. It was the first time in more than 20 years that the two rivals agreed to discuss cooperation on counter-insurgency. Algeria has long accused Morocco of harboring Islamic insurgents who have targeted Algiers.

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