http://www.msnbc. msn.com/id/ 23270932/Morocco: Europe thefts funded terrorists
Kingdom says it has dismantled network that was plotting assassinations
The Associated Press
updated 8:20 a.m. ET, Thurs., Feb. 21, 2008

PARIS – Morocco’s government said it has dismantled a terrorist network that
had plotted to assassinate Cabinet ministers and members of the North
African kingdom’s Jewish community.

Authorities believe the network has links to al-Qaida and local terror
groups, the official MAP news agency reported Wednesday night. A total of 32
people were arrested in sweeps this week, Moroccan newspapers said.

Morocco also has banned an Islamist political party, Al Badil Al Hadari,
because some members were linked to the network, MAP said, citing the
interior minister.

The network raised money by waging holdups, selling stolen goods and taking
contributions from its members, the report said. One suspected member of the
group waged a heist of an armored truck in Luxembourg in 2000, netting the
group $25.65 million, MAP said.

Gold jewelry stolen in Belgium was melted down by a goldsmith who belonged
to the network and then sold, it said.

The group had plotted to assassinate Cabinet ministers, army officers and
members of the Jewish community, Interior Minister Chakib Benoussa was
quoted as saying. Only a few thousand Jews still live in the largely Muslim
kingdom, as many have emigrated to Israel and elsewhere.

Moroccan authorities have been on alert since suicide bombings in 2003 in
Casablanca killed 45 people and stunned this relatively moderate Muslim
country, a popular vacation spot. Those bombings targeted a Jewish community
center and cemetery, a hotel, a restaurant and a Spanish social club.
Authorities have carried out regular anti-terror sweeps since then.

Last March, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Casablanca Internet cafe,
and investigators later uncovered an alleged plot targeting tourist sites
across Morocco. Police cornered four suspects, shooting one dead and
prompting the other three to blow themselves up to avoid capture. The blasts
killed a policeman and wounded 21 other people.

C 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

URL: http://www.msnbc. msn.com/id/ 23270932/

 

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