Morocco slum 'bred suicide bomber'

Security forces continue investigation into spate of suicide attacks in Morocco.

    Al-Raidi told Al Jazeera she was concerned for her
    son, who had been taken into police custody

    According to officials, the bombers involved in the recent spate of bombings that have struck Casablanca, grew up in the Sidi Moumen area, a suburban area of Casablanca known for its slums and shanty towns.
     
    Mohammed Vall, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Morocco, who visited the area where al-Raidi lived in a single room with her seven children said: "The slum we visited contained only a few thousand people, but there are many such slums in Casablanca. Several hundreds of thousands of Moroccans live in areas like this and these are a breeding ground, analysts say, for fundamentalists."
     
    Suicide bombers

    Casablanca has seen five suicide bombers in the last week. Three suicide bombers blew themselves up on Tuesday and police shot and killed a fourth man who appeared to be preparing to detonate explosives, authorities said.
     
    On Saturday, two bombers blew themselves up, attempting to attack US targets in Casablanca, according to the authorities.
     
    "There is no doubt they aimed at the US targets. They made that statement with their own bodies," a senior police source told Reuters.
     
    Other witnesses said that one man approached the US consulate and the other the cultural centre before blowing themselves up.
     
    Many residents are fearful of new attacks, despite an announcement by the police that they had arrested a man they said had "masterminded" the group responsible for Tuesday's attacks and a blast at an internet cafe on March 11.
     
    "Suffering and poverty"
     

    In Casablanca's slums families of up to
    twelve people are left to live in a single room

    In Casablanca's slums, many people are unemployed and families of up to twelve people are left to live in a single room.
     
    Murad Borga, a photojournalist, who has known the al-Raidi family for four years, told Al Jazeera: "We went looking for the reasons behind what they did and found the details of their arrests, their poor treatment at the hands of the police and the suffering and poverty of living in such a place."
     
    Events in Morocco, together with the recent co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks in Algiers, the Algerian capital, have fuelled fears of increased militant strikes across North Africa.
     
    Wednesday's attacks in Algiers, which killed 33 people, have been claimed by an al-Qaeda group, but Mustafa Ramid, a lawyer for al-Raidi, told Al Jazeera that there was no direct link between the bombings in Morocco and al-Qaeda.
     
    "If there is any relationship with al-Qaeda it is one of influence from distance. There is no proof of any coordination in terms of planning. Even the explosives used are of limited strength, unlike those used this week in Algeria."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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