Yahoo! News News Home - Yahoo! - Help

AP
Welcome, guest Personalize News Home Page   -   Sign Out
Yahoo! News   Fri, May 16, 2003
Search    for     Advanced
News Front Page
Top Stories
   U.S. National
   Crimes and Trials
Business
World
Entertainment
Sports
Technology
Politics
Science
Health
Oddly Enough
Op/Ed
Lifestyle
Local
Comics
News Photos
Weather
Most Popular
Audio/Video
Full Coverage
Lottery
Crosswords
News for Kids

Full Coverage
More about
Morocco
Related News Stories
• Deadly bomb attacks hit Casablanca BBC (May 16, 2003)
• At least 20 killed in Casablanca bomb blasts: official AFP (May 16, 2003)
• U.S. Says Al Qaeda Link to Bombings Plausible Reuters (May 16, 2003)
Opinion & Editorials
• Fighting on all fronts Washington Times (Feb 24, 2003)
• An elective voice in the Arab world Washington Times (Oct 3, 2002)
Feature Articles
• Morocco's miracle mule 'confirmed' BBC (Nov 4, 2002)
• The King's Democracy Radio Netherlands (Sep 26, 2002)
Related Web Sites
• Moroccan Ministry of Culture and Communication
• ArabNet: Morocco
• Radio Netherlands: Morocco

News Resources
News Alerts
· Osama bin Laden
· enterprise
· Iraq
· Afghanistan
Search News

Search:

for

Advanced
 
World - AP Africa
Terrorist Blasts Rock Casablanca, Kill 24
49 minutes ago

By NICOLAS MARMIE, Associated Press Writer

RABAT, Morocco - Terrorists exploded four bombs in the coastal city of Casablanca late Friday, killing at least 24 people and damaging the Belgian consulate, a Jewish center and a Spanish restaurant, officials said. Sixty people were wounded.

Photo
AP Photo

AFP Photo
AFP
Slideshow Slideshow: Casablanca Bombings Kill At Least 20

 

At least three of the blasts were from car bombs, and the fourth appeared to be detonated by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt, according to security officials in this North African nation.

The official news agency MAP reported that three suspects were apprehended, without elaborating. The agency also said that 10 of the dead were attackers.

"They were terrorists, suicide bombers," Interior Minister Mustapha Sahel told reporters. "These are the well-known signatures of international terrorists."

The attacks came just days after deadly terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia, prompting cities across the globe to brace for the possibility of attacks by Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s al-Qaida terrorist network, though it was not immediately known who was behind the Casablanca attacks.

The British government warned its citizens Friday to be on guard against "a clear terrorist threat" in six eastern African countries — Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti. However, it did not advise British nationals to avoid all nonessential travel there, as they have been told about Kenya.

The blasts appeared to take place almost simultaneously just after 9 p.m., killing at least 24 people and leaving several others injured, the Interior Ministry said. The explosions damaged the Belgian consulate, a Spanish restaurant and a Jewish community center, officials said.

The charred wreckage of burned vehicles were at the four sites near the center of the city. Bodies were scattered in the streets.

At the Hotel Safir, which was targeted, guests hastily left an elevator and walked over broken glass to get out, as police moved in to secure the area.

Two of the dead were policemen who had been outside the Belgian consulate, which was heavily damaged, Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Didier Seeuws told the Belgian news agency Belga. A security guard there was among the injured.

The Atlantic coastal city, Morocco's economic heart about 60 miles southwest of the capital of Rabat, was a scene of pandemonium with police and rescue workers rushing to the sites and night clubs and restaurants shutting down almost immediately.

But Sahel said later that the situation was under control. "All steps have been taken throughout the territory to ensure order, calm and security in the face of this criminal enterprise (news - web sites)."

Joanne Moore, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman in Washington, said no U.S. government facility was targeted.

U.S. counterterrorism officials in Washington had warned Friday of a coordinated effort by al-Qaida to strike lightly defended targets worldwide, citing the bombings earlier this week in Saudi Arabia as well as threats in Africa and Asia.

Abdullah ben Ali, a correspondent in Casablanca for the Arab satellite television station Al-Arabiya, said he witnessed one explosion at the "Casa Espana" nightclub, frequented mainly by Spaniards, and at the Hotel Safir, suggesting Western targets.

Morocco, with a population of about 30 million, has mostly Sunni Muslim people with small Christian and Jewish communities. Both Belgium and Spain have large Moroccan immigrant populations.

Morocco, considered a moderate Arab nation, has been a staunch U.S. ally. But it expressed regret that a peaceful solution could not be found in the Iraq (news - web sites) crisis. The Moroccan public turned out in large numbers for anti-war protests against the Iraq war, including one in the capital, Rabat, in March that drew 200,000 people.

 

Morocco postponed municipal elections in April by several months — a move widely seen as an effort to thwart the rise of Muslim fundamentalist parties. Analysts have predicted that Muslim fundamentalist parties will make massive gains.

Sahel accused the attackers of trying to "intimidate and destabilize a democracy."

Monday's suicide blasts in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, killed 34 people at three foreigners' housing compounds.

Three Saudis were arrested in Casablanca last year for leading an al-Qaida plot to attack U.S. and British warships. The three were given 10-year prison sentences in February by a Moroccan court.

The Saudis are also accused of having planned to blow up a cafe in Marrakech, a major tourist destination, and attack tourist buses in Morocco.

All three Saudis admitted under interrogation that they had been trained in the use of weapons and explosives at al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Pakistan.

U.S. and British authorities had warned of threats in East Africa, particularly Kenya, and in southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia. U.S. officials also received an unconfirmed report that a possible terrorist attack may occur in the western Saudi city of Jiddah.

Al-Qaida has suffered serious blows in recent months, including the capture of alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. But senior al-Qaida leaders were thought to be hiding in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, U.S. officials said.

In another North African country, an explosion on April 11, 2002, tore apart sections of a synagogue on the Tunisian resort island of Djerba, killing 21 people, mostly foreign tourists. The blast has been linked to al-Qaida.


Mail to Friend  Email Story
Message Boards   Post/Read Msgs (2641)
Printer Version   Print Story
Ratings: Would you recommend this story?
Not at all 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 Highly


Next Story: Terrorist Blasts Rock Casablanca, Kill 24  (AP)

More Africa Stories
· Recent Terror Attacks Around the World   (AP)
· U.N. Urges Annan to Build Force for Congo   (AP)
· Zimbabwe Deports Reporter Despite Order   (AP)
· Reports: Possible Terror Attack in Kenya   (AP)
· Rival Congolese Factions Sign Peace Deal   (AP)


Weekly Specials ADVERTISEMENT
· Save up to 70% on Life Insurance. Get Instant Quotes!
· Rollover your 401K
· Get 30 commission-free trades at Ameritrade!
· Home Equity Rates as Low as 4.0% - LendingTree.com
· Planning to Sell or Buy a Home this Summer?
· Chase® Platinum Visa: 0% Intro APR, No Annual Fee. Click to Apply!
· Check out Toyota's full line-up of 18 quality cars, trucks and SUVs at toyota.com.
· Buy stocks for only $4. FREE Money 2003.
· Are Your Kids Buckled in Properly?
· Lower your monthly house payments
ADVERTISEMENT

Services
• Daily Emails
• Free News Alerts

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Questions or Comments
Privacy Policy -Terms of Service - Ad Feedback