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Moroccan Court Hands Down Death Sentences in May Suicide Bombings

A Moroccan criminal court Tuesday handed down death sentences or heavy jail terms to 87 Islamic activists for their role in a series of bombings in Casablanca this year that killed dozens of people.

Death sentences were handed down for four of the Islamic activists, and 83 others were given lengthy jail terms for suicide bomb attacks in Casablanca last May that killed 45 people.

The attacks were carried out in Casablanca at a Spanish restaurant, a Belgian consulate, a Jewish community center and a hotel. All four sentenced to death are in their 20s. One of the four was a leader of an Islamic extremist group who was one of the masterminds behind the attacks.

The three others were found guilty of preparing to act as suicide bombers but, at the last minute, backed out.

Thirty-seven of the accused were given life sentences. The others were given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to 30-years. Defense attorneys said they planned to file appeals.

More than 600 people were arrested in police sweeps following the bomb attacks in Casablanca.