Morocco stops new wave of bombings

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

CAIRO Morocco has foiled another plot to launch a wave of suicide bombings in the North African kingdom.

Moroccan security sources said the plot by Al Qaida-related elements called for a string of suicide attacks in Rabat. The targets were said to have been public places frequented by Westerners.

The sources provided few details of the plans by the insurgents. But they said the plot was foiled in an operation that combined the police and the royal intelligence agency. At least three people have been captured in connection with the plot.

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Moroccan authorities have arrested hundreds of Islamic suspects since the May 16 suicide bombings in Casablanca. About 100 people have been tried on a range of offenses termed as terrorists both in Casablanca and other cities, Middle East Newsline reported.

Al Qaida agents have been operating in several Moroccan cities as part of the plan to resume suicide bombings in the kingdom. The sources said the investigation that foiled the Rabat bombings also took place in the cities of Sla and Thabit.

The Al Qaida ring arrested was believed linked with Pierre Richard, who was convicted of terrorism offenses earlier this year. Among the suspects in the latest Al Qaida plot was Hassan Al Zaytouni, brother of Nur Eddin Al Zaytouni, a key operative in the Richard-led group.

The sources said the Sla cell was said to have relayed money and other support for the families of Moroccans who were killed in the U.S. war in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002. The sources did not elaborate on the Sla cell's links to the Rabat suicide attack plot.

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