Morocco says Casablanca, Algiers blasts not linked

CASABLANCA (Reuters) - Bomb blasts in Morocco and Algeria in the past two days were the uncoordinated work of different terrorist groups, Moroccan Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa said on Wednesday.

Three suspected suicide bombers blew themselves up on Tuesday following a police raid on a house in a suburb of Morocco’s economic capital Casablanca in which a fourth suspect was shot dead.

On Wednesday, the Algeria-based Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for bombs that killed 30 people in Algiers.

“What happened yesterday (in Casablanca) has nothing to do with the terrorist acts that neighboring countries have seen,” Benmoussa told reporters. “The (Moroccan) group ... has no direct link with international terrorist networks.”

He said the Casablanca bombers used primitive means to blow themselves up, proving theirs was a “desperate terrorist act”.

Officials said the four men were members of a gang that police had been hunting since March 11, when their suspected leader detonated an explosives belt in a cafe to avoid arrest.

Benmoussa said the authorities had arrested 31 members of the gang since then and that three or four were still on the run.