Terror suspects killed in Morocco

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Four terror suspects were killed in Morocco yesterday after police launched a raid in the western city of Casablanca.

Three of the men pursued blew themselves up while a fourth was shot dead by officers following the raid on a house in the poor Fida area of the city, according to police sources.

A police statement reported by the AFP news agency early yesterday revealed the deaths of two of the suspected Islamic militants, with one said to have been shot during the dawn raid on the group's alleged hideout, while a second man apparently blew himself up after he was trapped on a roof terrace by detectives.

State news agency MAP reported that one policeman was killed and another injured after a third militant blew himself up later in the day during a subsequent man hunt, with parts of Fida sealed off following the terror raid.

A fourth suicide bomber then blew himself up in the street after seeing that there was no way for him to evade a police cordon, a senior security source told the Reuters news agency, which quoted a policeman at the scene who said that at least 19 people, including five police officers, had been injured in the explosion.

The four terror suspects were members of a gang that police have been pursuing in connection with a terror attack on an internet cafe in Casablanca on March 11th, when a suicide bomber blew himself up after he was caught surfing jihadist web sites.

Police said that the suspect they shot dead was also wanted over a series of suicide bombings in May 2003, when attacks launched by 13 militants killed 32 others in Morocco.

Following the north African state's first experience of Islamic terrorism, detectives instigated a subsequent crackdown on suspects, including those thought to be linked to al-Qaida.

However, officials stressed that the four men they pursued yesterday were not thought to have any connection with foreign terror networks.

"These men had no ties with foreign groups," Casablanca's regional administrator Mokhtar Bakali was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

"All of the suspects were members of the March 11th group," he added.

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