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Published on 5/16/2008 By Karim Zouiyen
May 16, 2008 - Today marks the 5th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack ever perpetrated on Moroccan soil.

On May 16, 2003, Morocco discovered the grim face of terrorism. The attackers killed 43 and wounded more than 60 peoples, and thousands more were psychologically affected.

On that day, the country has come to realized that while social exclusion and poverty do not justify religious fundamentalism, they offer a breeding ground for it.

In the face of this tragedy, Morocco has embarked in a multiple front offensive.
First, by implementing a number of social and economical programs as an alternative to the ideologies of hatred and repression.

Morocco is also going head on with what is often referred to as the greatest ideological struggle of the 21st century. the government commitment to increase security remains at the forefront of its battle against terrorism.

Within the last five years, more than 5200 suspects were arrested and about 11 000 individuals were interrogated in .the cities of Sale, Casablanca, Rabat, Tanger, Meknes, El Youssoufia and Tetouan. More than 1000 were convicted based on the 03-03 law, enacted shortly after the May 16 attacks.

The Law 03-03 has further empowered law enforcement and intelligence officials by giving them new instrument to fight terrorism more effectively.

The police force has now important prerogatives such as the right ro search a suspect home on a 24/7 basis. In the past the right to search a person's home could not take place between 9pm and 6am.

In response to the terrorism threat, the Moroccan authorities are launching new offensive.

New antiterrorism measures include phone tapping and internet monitoring (including email conversations). These measures were instrumental in breaking up terrorist cells. The Sidi Moumen, the summer of 2003, is listed as one of the most dangerous one. Several other cells have also been dismantled as well. The Robert Richard group in Tanger, the Youssef Adda and Abdelmalek Bouzkaren group in 2005, the Abdelfettah Raydi cell (who exploded himself on March 11 in a cybercafé). Finally, the break up of the Ansar Al Mahdi cell, considered one of the Moroccan secret services most important operation.

Karim Zouiyen for Morocco Newsline
In association with leconomiste
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