August 13, 2007 / 5:45 PM / 12 years ago

Islamist attempts suicide attack in Morocco

RABAT (Reuters) - A suspected radical Islamist tried to blow up himself near a bus carrying tourists in the Moroccan city of Meknes on Monday but he detonated the gas cylinder he was carrying before reaching it, police sources said.

“The gas cylinder exploded some metres (yards) from the bus and badly injured the attacker,” said one police source.

Another source said authorities suspected the bomber was a member of the radical Islamist Jihadia group.

Police sources said the failed suicide attack came after anti-terrorism police stepped up a crackdown on radical Islamists in the past six months, arresting scores of suspected jihadists.

“That crackdown move put terrorists on the defensive and destabilised their plots and forced them to commit acts of despair like this one,” a third source added.

The sources said the attack in Meknes, 136 km (85 miles) southwest of Rabat, was a reminder of similar bombings in Casablanca in March and April this year, when seven suicide bombers killed themselves and a police officer.

Two of the suicide bombers that killed themselves near U.S. diplomatic offices in Morocco’s commercial hub, Casablanca, in April clearly intended to attack those buildings, the authorities have said.

In June, Morocco raised its security alert to the highest maximum level, suggesting an attack was imminent.

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