Moroccans Paying a Price for Ties With U.S.
Immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, this North African kingdom was quick to join the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Al Qaeda suspects have been transferred here for interrogation. Moroccan authorities have rounded up Islamic extremists. And last year officials cracked a terrorist sleeper cell that was plotting to blow up U.S. ships in the Strait of Gibraltar. The friendship between Morocco and the United States runs deep. But Morocco’s role as a strong ally in a troubled region has come at a price. Last Friday, five separate, near-simultaneous suicide bombings here in Morocco’s largest city killed 42 people and injured more than 100. Investigators said they don’t know whether the suicide bombers, who were Moroccan, pursued a strictly local agenda or were following instructions from an external terrorist command. Either way, the investigators said, the Moroccan government’s ties to the United States and the West have made it a target of terror. Full Story