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Morocco bombing bears hallmark of Al Qaeda group

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The North African Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is active in neighboring Algeria, but Morocco has been largely quiet since the 2003 attacks in Casablanca. A chief concern of the Moroccan government is that AQIM will eventually expand beyond Algeria and the Sahara desert and establish a base in Morocco, which it has so far failed to do, Reuters reports.

Government spokesman Khalid Naciri was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that Moroccan security regularly halts terrorist plots and discovers terrorist cells.

Moroccan authorities have rounded up thousands of purported terror suspects in recent years and while they "regularly discover terrorist cells ... nothing led us to foresee an act of this magnitude," Mr. Naciri said.

"Morocco has an international image of welcome, hospitality and tourism," he said "An act of this magnitude will leave its mark."

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