Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Moroccan Suicide Bombers

My parents took us kids to Morocco when I was 10 years old, and I remember how kind the Moroccans were and how beautiful Morocco is. After college I visited Gibraltar and met Moroccans who speak three languages fluently. It astounds me to think that even one Moroccan can be convinced today to travel all the way to Iraq and kill people. I do not understand how some people can kill innocent human beings in the name of Allah. I wonder how close they got to occupied Palestine on their way to Iraq.

Terrorist Networks Lure Young Moroccans to War in Far-Off Iraq
Conflict Is Recruiting Tool for Al-Qaeda Affiliates

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, February 20, 2007; Page A01

TETOUAN, Morocco -- In the Arab world, this hilly North African city is about as far as you can get from Iraq. But for many young men here, the call to join what they view as a holy war resonates loudly across the 3,000-mile divide.

About two dozen men from Tetouan and nearby towns in the Rif Mountains have traveled to Iraq in the past 18 months to volunteer as fighters or suicide bombers, according to local residents and officials. Moroccan authorities said the men were recruited by international terrorist networks affiliated with al-Qaeda that have deepened their roots in North Africa since the invasion of Iraq four years ago.
To stanch the flow, U.S. intelligence and military officials have tried to trace the fighters' steps. On the basis of DNA evidence recovered from the scenes of suicide attacks, as well as other clues, officials have confirmed that at least two bombers came from Tetouan, a city of more than 320,000 across the Strait of Gibraltar from southern Spain.

One of them, Abdelmonaim el-Amrani, a 22-year-old laborer, abandoned his wife and infant child in Tetouan to go to Iraq. On March 6, 2006, just before sunset, he drove a red Volkswagen Passat stuffed with explosives into a funeral tent in a village near Baqubah, Iraq, according to witnesses. Six people were reported killed and 27 injured. It was months before Amrani's family in Tetouan learned of his fate from Moroccan police.

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