/ 18 April 2007

Morocco on ‘extreme alert’ over terror attacks

Morocco is facing an ”extreme” threat of more terror attacks in Casablanca and other cities following a spate of suicide bombings, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday.

”Morocco is in a state of extreme alert and this situation prevails as much in Casablanca as in other cities and sensitive zones in the country,” said spokesperson and Communications Minister Nabil Benbdellah. ”Terrorism can strike any time.”

Speaking after a government meeting in Rabat to discuss the terror threat, he said security had been tightened around consulates, hotels used by foreigners and in religious places in Casablanca.

About 20 people have been arrested in relation to last week’s suicide bombings in the port city.

Six militants died there last week as police investigated a March 11 explosion in an internet café.

Three men blew themselves up as they were pursued by police last Tuesday and a fourth would-be bomber was shot dead by police.

On Saturday, two brothers blew themselves up near the United States consulate and near an American language school in Casablanca.

The attacks last week in Morocco and in neighbouring Algeria, where 30 people died in three suicide attacks, have sparked fears that the recent violence presages an upsurge in Islamist violence in the region. — Sapa-AFP