CAIRO ø Morocco has reported a major victory against Islamic
insurgents connected to the Al Qaida suicide attacks in May 2003.
Moroccan authorities said security forces captured 35 insurgents linked
to Al Qaida in a series of raids of suspected insurgency strongholds in the
city of Mekans, 138 kilometers east of Rabat. Authorities said a police
officer and an insurgent were killed in a shootout during one of the raids
over the weekend.
The detainees were said to have included leading fugitives sought by
Morocco in wake of the suicide strikes in Casablanca last year. Security
forces also discovered a huge cache of explosives and weapons as well as
equipment to forge official documents.
Security sources told the official Moroccan news agency that the
insurgents were part of Al Qaida's nerve center that helped plan the suicide
attacks in Casablanca, Middle East Newsline reported. Al Qaida in cooperation with the Salfiya Jihadiya
group sent a dozen suicide bombers against Western and Jewish targets in
attacks that killed 44 people.
One of those captured in the raid was Muhsan Buarfa, accused of killing
two Moroccan security agents. The sources said the raids ø which took place
overnight Monday ø were part of a counter-insurgency effort against Islamic
insurgency groups in wake of the May 2003 attacks.