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|2003 Casablanca bombings|
|Part of the Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002–present)|
|Date||May 16, 2003|
|Target||Western and Jewish targets|
|Deaths||45 (includes 12 terrorists)|
|More than 100|
The 2003 Casablanca bombings were a series of suicide bombings on May 16, 2003, in Casablanca, Morocco. The attacks were the deadliest terrorist attacks in the country's history. Forty-five people were killed in the attacks (33 victims and 12 suicide bombers). The suicide bombers came from the shanty towns of Sidi Moumen, a poor suburb of Casablanca.
Casablanca, located in the central-western part of Morocco and bordering the Atlantic Ocean, is the largest city in Morocco. It is also the largest city in the Maghreb region, as well as one of the largest and most important cities in Africa, both economically and demographically.
Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in the Maghreb region of North West Africa with an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, the largest city Casablanca. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction.
Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime or in war against non-combatants. The terms "terrorist" and "terrorism" originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.
The 14 bombers, most between 20 and 23 years old, bombed four places on the night of May 16, 2003. In the deadliest attack, bombers wearing explosives knifed a guard at the "Casa de España" restaurant, a Spanish-owned eatery in the city. They blew themselves up inside the building, killing 20 people, many of them Muslims dining and playing bingo.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
The five-star Hotel Farah was bombed next, killing a guard and a porter. Another bomber killed three passersby as he attempted to bomb a Jewish cemetery. He was 150 yards (140 m) away from the cemetery and likely lost, so he blew up by a fountain. Two additional bombers attacked a Jewish community center, but killed no one because the building was closed and empty. It would have been packed the next day.
A Jewish cemetery is a cemetery where members of the Jewish faith are buried in keeping with Jewish tradition. Cemeteries are referred to in several different ways in Hebrew, including bet kevarot, beit almin or bet olam, the bet chayyim and bet shalom.
Another bomber attacked a Jewish-owned Italian restaurant, and another blew up near the Belgian consulate which is located meters away from the restaurant, killing two police officers.
In all, 33 civilians died, along with 12 bombers. Two bombers were arrested before they could carry out attacks. More than 100 people were injured; 97 of them were Muslims. Eight of the dead were Europeans (three Spanish among them) and the rest were Moroccan.
A large demonstration was organized through the streets of Casablanca. Tens of thousands marched, carrying banners such as "Say No to Terrorism". They shouted "Down with Hate" and "United against Terrorism".
Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, toured the bombing sites and was cheered by crowds of people. Moroccan authorities said in May 2004 that they had arrested 2,000 people in connection with the attacks, and began to put them on trial.
Mohammed VI is the King of Morocco. He is a member of the Alaouite dynasty and ascended to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II.
World leaders condemned the attacks, coming on the heels of the Riyadh compound bombings. In response to that attack and the Casablanca attacks, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security raised the terror threat level to Orange.
Two major bombings took place in residential compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2003. On 12 May 2003, 39 people were killed, and over 160 wounded when bombs went off at three compounds in Riyadh—Dorrat Al Jadawel, Al Hamra Oasis Village, and the Vinnell Corporation Compound. On 8 November, a bomb was detonated outside the Al-Mohaya housing compound west of Riyadh, killing at least 17 people and wounding 122.
In the United States, the Homeland Security Advisory System was a color-coded terrorism threat advisory scale. The different levels triggered specific actions by federal agencies and state and local governments, and they affected the level of security at some airports and other public facilities. It was often called the "terror alert level" by the U.S. media. The system was replaced on April 27, 2011, with a new system called the National Terrorism Advisory System.
Salafia Jihadia, an offshoot of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group and believed to have al-Qaeda links, is suspected of sending out the bombers. On March 19, 2004, Belgian police arrested a suspect wanted by the Moroccan government in connection with the bombings.In December 2004, a man named Hasan al-Haski, charged in the 2004 Madrid bombings, was questioned over his links to the Casablanca bombings and was suspected to have helped plan them.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was believed to have ordered the bombings. He was killed in an airstrike on June 7, 2006.
A number of Muslims were subsequently convicted of bombings. In April 2008 nine of the prisoners tunneled their way out of prison. Abderrahim Mahtade, who represents a prisoners’ advocacy group, said the fugitives had escaped from the Kenitra prison, north of Rabat, after dawn prayers. He said one of the nine had been sentenced to death, six to life imprisonment and two to 20 years.
Saad bin Laden was suspected of direct involvement in the bombings.However, he was under house arrest in Iran at the time and didn't escape in 2008. He was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan in 2009.
Hassan al-Kattani, having been convicted of inspiring the attacks in 2003, was pardoned in 2011 after several hunger strikes and criticisms from human rights groups which alleged that Kattani was innocent.Omar al-Haddouchi was also jailed for inspiring the bombings and pardoned in 2011.
The Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, known by the French acronym GICM, is a Salafi jihadist terrorist organisation affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The GICM is one of several North African terrorist franchises spawned in Afghanistan during the tenure of the Taliban. The organisation and its associated members have been linked to major terrorist attacks including the 2003 Casablanca bombings that killed 33 people and wounded more than 100, and the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded over 2,000. A crackdown against the organisation's numerous cells in Europe is thought to have since significantly damaged the GICM's capabilities.
Islamic terrorism, Islamist terrorism or radical Islamic terrorism is defined as any terrorist act, set of acts or campaign committed by groups or individuals who profess Islamic or Islamist motivations or goals. Islamic terrorists justify their violent tactics through their own interpretation of the Quran and Hadith. The motivation for Islamic terrorism in part comes from the idea of Islamic supremacy which is encapsulated in the formula, "Islam is exalted and nothing is exalted above it."
The Ashura massacre of March 2, 2004 in Iraq was a series of planned terrorist explosions that killed at least 178 and injured at least 500 Iraqi Shi'a Muslims commemorating the Day of Ashura. The bombings brought one of the deadliest days in the Iraq occupation after the Iraq War to topple Saddam Hussein.
The 2004 Australian embassy bombing took place on 9 September 2004 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Terrorism in Saudi Arabia has formerly been attributed to Islamic extremists. Their targets included foreign civilians— Westerners affiliated with its oil-based economy—as well as Saudi Arabian civilians and security forces. Anti-Western attacks have occurred in Saudi Arabia dating back to 1995. Saudi Arabia itself has been accused of funding terrorism in other countries, including Syria.
The 2005 Amman bombings were a series of coordinated bomb attacks on three hotel lobbies in Amman, Jordan, on 9 November 2005. The explosions at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Radisson SAS Hotel, and the Days Inn started at around 20:50 local time at the Grand Hyatt. The three hotels are frequented by foreign diplomats. The bomb at the Radisson SAS exploded in the Philadelphia Ballroom, where a Jordanian wedding hosting hundreds of guests was taking place. The attacks killed 57 people and injured 115 others.
Sa'ad bin Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden, better known as Saad bin Laden, was one of Osama bin Laden's sons. He continued in his father's footsteps by being active in Al Qaeda, and was being groomed to be his heir apparent. He was killed in an American drone strike in 2009.
Salafia Jihadia is a Salafi jihadist militant group based in Morocco and Spain with links to Al-Qaeda. The group is associated with the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM), and in addition to a series of religiously sanctioned extrajudicial killings, it was notably responsible for the 2003 Casablanca bombings, in which twelve suicide bombers killed 33 people and injured over 100. Salafia Jihadia has variously been described as a movement or loose network of groups, or as a generic term applied by Moroccan authorities for militant Salafi activists.
The 2007 Casablanca bombings refer to a series of suicide bombings in March and April 2007 in Casablanca, Morocco.
The Al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school also known as Pesantren Al-Mukmin and Pondok Ngruki, is a pesantren located in Ngruki, a suburb in the city of Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia. It was founded 1972 by the alleged 'spiritual head' of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir, and by Abdullah Sungkar. Al-Mukmin's activities were initially limited to religious discussion after dhuhr. Following increasing interest, the founders expanded Al-Mukmin into a madrasah and then into a pesantren. It currently houses over 2000 students aged between 12 and 18.
The international activities of Al-Qaeda includes involvements in Europe, where members of the group have been involved in militant and terrorist activities in several countries. Al-Qaeda has been responsible for or involved in attacks in Western Europe and Russia, including the 2004 Madrid train bombings, 2010 Moscow Metro bombings, 2011 Domodedovo International Airport bombing, and the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks.
Karim Thami el-Mejjati was a Moroccan-French convicted terrorist who has been claimed to have aided the Riyadh compound bombings, the 2003 Casablanca bombings, the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the 2005 London bombings as member of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group.
The year was most notably marked by a series of battles in Fallujah. See Fallujah during the Iraq War.
A suicide bombing incident occurred on December 14, 2010, by two suicide bombers, who blew themselves up in a crowded Shia Muslim mourning procession in the southeastern Iranian coastal city of Chabahar, outside Imam Husain Mosque. It took place on the day of Tasu'a, when Shiite Muslims gathered to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah and his successor Ali ibn Abi Talib. It killed 39 people.
The August 2011 Khyber Agency bombing occurred on 19 August 2011 in Jamrud, Ghundai within the Khyber Agency of FATA, Pakistan. At least 48 people were reported to have died after a suicide bomber exploded his vest at a mosque during Friday prayers in the month of Ramadan when about 300-500 people were praying; at least 40 others were also wounded.
In 2007, 34 terrorist attacks and clashes, including suicide attacks, killings, and assassinations, resulted in 134 casualties and 245 injuries, according to the PIPS security report. The report states that Pakistan faced 20 suicide attacks during 2007, which killed at least 111, besides injuring another 234 people. PIPS report shows visible increase in suicide attacks after Lal Masjid operation.
On 12 November 2015, two suicide bombers detonated explosives in Bourj el-Barajneh, a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, that is inhabited mostly by Shia Muslims. Reports of the number of fatalities concluded that around 89 people were killed, 43 directly died from the detonation, then many followed during treatment or from injury. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Brussels ISIL terror cell were a group accused of involvement in large-scale terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in early 2016, as well as other attacks against European targets. The terror cell is connected to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a jihadist terrorist organisation primarily based in Syria and Iraq and led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
On 4 July 2016, four suicide bombs exploded in three locations in Saudi Arabia. One of them exploded in the parking lot of the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, killing at least four people. The second and third suicide bombers targeted a Shia mosque in Qatif, but they failed to harm anyone but themselves. A fourth militant blew himself up after police tried to arrest him near the U.S. consulate in Jeddah. Two Saudi Arabian police officers were injured.
In May and June 2002, Moroccan authorities arrested several people in connection with an Al-Qaeda plot to attack American and British naval ships and shipping in the Strait of Gibraltar. Three Saudi Arabians were arrested for the plot, followed by several Moroccan Islamists, many members of Salafia Jihadia.