Four Moroccan terrorists blow themselves up after police raid -linked to internet cafe bomber
April 11, 2007
MIM: One of the terrorists killed by police was the brother of the suicide bomber who was killed in when he blew himself up in an internet cafe after he was stopped by the owner from visiting jihadists sites. Police suspect he was online looking for a message from his handlers.
Suicide bomber in Casablanca injures three in internet cafe after owner denies him access to jihadist websites
Terror Suspects Killed in Morocco
By JOHN THORNE
Associated Press Writer
CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) - Police surrounded a building in Morocco's largest city where four terrorism suspects were holed up Tuesday, forcing three of the men to flee and blow themselves up with explosives. The fourth was shot by police as he was apparently preparing to detonate his bomb.
A police officer was killed in the operation and a young child was injured, officials said.
The explosions in Casablanca, weeks after the bombing of an Internet cafe in the city, promised to further rattle the North African kingdom whose first high-profile brush with Islamic terrorism came in five suicide bombings in the city in May 2003.
Moroccan authorities responded to those attacks, which left 45 people dead, with the arrest of thousands of alleged Islamic militants - some accused of working with al-Qaida to plot strikes in Morocco and abroad. At least two of those killed Tuesday were suspected of links to those attacks.
The suspects were all allegedly connected to the March 11 bombing of the Internet cafe - an attack that killed the bomber, Abdelfettah Raydi, and four others.
Tuesday's violence started when police, acting on a tip, surrounded a four-story apartment building in the working-class Hay Farah neighborhood of Casablanca where the suspected terrorists were holed up, officials said.
One of the suspects fled to the roof, where he blew himself up, said a police official on the scene who refused to give his name, saying he was not authorized to do so. Morocco's official MAP news agency identified that bomber as Mohamed Rachidi.
A second man appeared to be on the verge of detonating explosives, fumbling with his clothes, when a police sniper shot him, officials said. The suspect, who later died of his wounds, was identified by police as Mohamed Mentala. He was carrying nearly nine pounds of explosives, said an Interior Ministry official who also asked not to be named, citing ministry policy.
Mentala and Rachidi had both been sought by police for alleged involvement in the 2003 suicide bombings, the Interior Ministry official said.
The third suspect fled, then blew himself up hours later as police were searching for him, according to another officer at the scene, who also refused to give his name. He was identified as Ayyoub Raydi, the brother of the Internet cafe bomber, the Interior Ministry official said.
The police officer was killed and another seriously injured when Ayyoub Raydi detonated his explosives, the official said. A 7-year-old boy was hospitalized with minor injuries.
In the evening, the fourth suspect detonated his explosives in the middle of a boulevard, said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. The official MAP news agency said the blast injured five people. It gave no details.
Investigations into the March 11 cafe bombing led police to a wider suspected plot to attack the port in Casablanca, as well as police stations and tourist sites in Morocco. The group had amassed dozens of homemade explosives at a Casablanca apartment.
In last month's blast, Abdelfettah Raydi detonated his charge when the cybercafe's owner caught him surfing jihadist Web sites. He was killed and four others were injured.
Police have so far arrested 31 suspects in the terrorism probe. Abdelfettah Raydi and many other suspects were among some 2,000 arrested after the 2003 bombings, but were later released from prison under a royal pardon.
Moroccan authorities have said they do not believe Abdelfettah Raydi's group had links to international terrorist networks.