Morocco: Two bombers talking to police

Tuesday
02:55:07 AM
May
20 2003

Morocco: Two bombers talking to police

Some U.S. officials question presumed al Qaeda link

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CASABLANCA, Morocco -- Two participants in Friday night's suicide bombings have been captured and are providing valuable information to police, Morocco's interior minister said Monday.

Three others suspected of direct involvement in the attack also were in custody, police said.

Police initially said that 13 of the 14 bombers had died in the attacks.

Monday, Interior Minister Mustapha Sahel said only 12 had died, and that one of the surviving bombers had escaped but was captured Sunday night. The Interior Ministry offered no details on the arrest.

Interrogations of the two surviving attackers "have permitted the investigators to make a remarkable advance in the investigation and confirmed presumptions of links with international terrorism," he said.

Moroccan officials were still reporting a total death toll of 42. It was not clear whether the change reported by Sahel meant the death toll from the five bombings had been revised to 41, or if it meant that 30 victims had died, instead of the 29 previously reported.

Nearly all the dead are Moroccans. There were no American casualties.

Bombers' allegiance at issue

The key question dogging investigators is whether the attacks were launched by local extremists or were coordinated by an international terrorist group.

U.S. officials sent conflicting signals Monday on whether the attackers were linked to al Qaeda.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "We do have suspicions that it was" al Qaeda-related.

But State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters there is no information to suggest the attacks are the work of al Qaeda as opposed to local Moroccan radicals.

Source by CNN


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