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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Morocco 'smashes terror network'
Bomb debris
Hundreds have been arrested since the Casablanca bombings
Morocco has arrested 44 people suspected of planning attacks in the north of the country, officials say.

Police seized explosives, communication equipment and propaganda material in Casablanca and five other towns, the state news agency (Map) said.

Officials say the detainees belong to a previously unknown organisation calling itself the Mehdi Support Group.

Security forces have arrested hundreds of suspects since 2003, when 45 people died in a Casablanca suicide bombing.

"The security services dismantled a terrorist network that planned to commit criminal acts on national territory," Map said in a story that quoted an interior ministry statement.

The leader of the group "managed to recruit radical Islamists with a view to training them to use explosives in the regions of Nador and Ouezzane, from where he aimed to proclaim the jihad, after buying firearms," Map reported

Earlier this year the government said it had broken up more than 50 terrorist cells, with more than 2,000 members.


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