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At Least 40 Die in Casablanca Suicide Bombings - 2003-05-17

A series of suicide bombings in Morocco late Friday night killed at least 40 people and injured nearly 60, throwing the city of Casablanca into chaos.

Four almost simultaneous explosions in Casablanca occurred at a Jewish community center, a hotel, the Belgian consulate and a Spanish culture center. An earlier bomb exploded near a Jewish cemetery in Casablanca, Morocco's biggest city. The official Moroccan news agency MAP reports that 10 of the dead were the suicide bombers themselves. The agency says three suspects, all Moroccans, have been apprehended.

Morocco's interior minister, Mostafa Sahel, described the bombings as terrorist suicide attacks. He said they bore the marks of an international terrorist organization. He did not specify which organization, but said the incidents were similar to the bombings Monday in Saudi Arabia, blamed on the al-Qaida network.

The deadliest attack in Casablanca was at the Spanish center. A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt stormed into the center restaurant where 100 guests were having a late dinner. He murdered the doorman and then detonated his explosives.

At the Belgian consulate two guards were killed when a car bomb exploded just outside the building. Other car bombs went off at the Jewish cultural center and at the Farah hotel. Nearly all the victims were Moroccans.

Earlier this week bomb attacks in Saudi Arabia killed 34 people and set off terror alerts in the Middle East, east Africa and southeast.