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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 May, 2003, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Q&A: Casablanca bombings

Abubakr Jamai is editor of Le Journal magazine in Casablanca. He has been talking to the BBC about who might have been behind the attacks.

Do we know who the bombers were yet?

Not yet. We know that three people are held as suspects and that two of them have been basically arrested by Moroccan citizens, not by the police. We don't know yet if they are Moroccans or of foreign origin.

The co-ordination of the attacks indicates that there are great chances that this awful deed has been planned and executed by an international organisation and not by a Moroccan one.

In the history of Morocco we have never witnessed such an extreme action by a Moroccan organisation. That's why, I think, the Ministry of the Interior indicated that it might be the work of an international organisation.

Did Morocco have any reason to expect an attack like this one?

Well, a few months ago Bin Laden said in one of his audio letters sent to Al Jazeera that Morocco was co-operating with the West and hence was the enemy of Islam.

There have been warnings of terrorist threats across East Africa, but I take it no warning for Morocco?

No, these are totally unexpected attacks, and the Minister of the Interior said that in his press conference - that there was no threat before the attacks.

Is there any kind of theme in the targets that were attacked?

The Casa Espana, which is a Spanish restaurant, you can guess that [might have been chosen] because Spain was an ally of the United States in the Iraqi war.

There was also a bombing between the Belgian consulate and the Italian consulate. Italy was also an ally of the United States.

And of course you have, unfortunately, the usual targets of radical Islamists - the Jewish community. We have a bombing in Le Circle Juif, the Jewish Circle, which is near a Jewish synagogue and where Jewish people get together and have dinner and then play cards. And also - we are not sure about this one - but also near the Jewish cemetery in the old city of Casablanca.

This is all speculation, but could these attacks have an anti-American flavour to them?

Well, I think yes. The simultaneous bombing has the fingerprint of an organisation. I don't see a Moroccan group carrying that kind of attacks.

So I think it has an anti-western flavour for sure, and I think anti-American as well. But the American sites are very well protected in Morocco. It might explain why nothing to my knowledge has happened before now .... you know, no explosions near the American embassy in Rabat or the American consulate in Casablanca.




SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Casablanca blasts
17 May 03  |  Photo Gallery
Country profile: Morocco
03 Mar 03  |  Country profiles



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