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Possible alqaeda link morocco { May 16 2003 }

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U.S. Says Al Qaeda Link to Bombings Plausible

Friday, May 16, 2003; 9:39 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials said four bomb attacks in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on Friday night could have been the work of al Qaeda, but that it was too early to determine if the Islamist extremist group was involved.

Morocco's official MAP news agency said at least 20 people were killed in four bomb attacks.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were four nearly simultaneous explosions near a hotel, a restaurant, a Spanish center and a Jewish club next to a synagogue.

Asked whether al Qaeda was involved in the blasts, the official said: "It's too early to tell."

"Given these attacks occurred nearly simultaneously, possible al Qaeda involvement is certainly plausible," the official told Reuters.

A State Department spokesman said they had little information about the explosions, but that no U.S. government facility was hit.

"The only information that I have is that we aware that they were four car bombings,"

The bombings in Morocco's commercial capital came against the background of a worldwide terror alert following Monday's suicide blasts in Saudi Arabia, which killed 34 people, mostly foreigners.

Morocco was not mentioned in State Department advisories this week about potential terrorism threats that warned of possible imminent attacks in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Malaysia.

2003 Reuters

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Possible alqaeda link morocco { May 16 2003 }
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