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Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 11:09 UK

Morocco arrests al-Qaeda suspects

Suspected terrorists arrive for their 2007 trial at an anti-terrorist courthouse in Sale
There have been a number of high-profile terror trials in Morocco

Police in Morocco have arrested a network of 35 people suspected of recruiting for al-Qaeda groups operating in Algeria and Iraq.

Officials said they were also suspected of planning attacks in Morocco.

It is the third such recruitment network the government says it has dismantled this year.

Since 2003, when suicide bombings killed 45 people in Casablanca, the number of Islamists in Moroccan jails has risen to nearly 1,000.

The latest arrests took place in Tangiers, Larache, Oujda, Tetouan, Rabat, Khouribga and Fes, security officials say.

In February, Moroccan police announced the arrest of 36 people alleged to have been part of an Islamist network led by Belgian-Moroccan Abdelkader Belliraj.

In May, police said they dismantled a network planning attacks in Belgium and Morocco. Two of the suspects have since been acquitted.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), vowed allegiance to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda last year.

Although most of its attacks are still launched in Algeria, it has also carried out operations in other North African countries.

There are several high-profile cases involving alleged terrorists before the courts.

Many of the jailed Islamists have gone on hunger strike to protest at what they say are inhuman conditions.


SEE ALSO
Moroccan terror trial postponed
25 May 07 |  Africa
Country profile: Morocco
04 Apr 08 |  Country profiles


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