Man Blows Himself Up in Internet Cafe

The Associated Press
Monday, March 12, 2007; 7:37 PM

CASABLANCA, Morocco -- A man with explosives hidden on his body blew himself up in an Internet cafe after the owners prevented him from looking at terror Web sites, the Interior Ministry said Monday.

The man was killed and four people were injured in the Sunday night blast in a Casablanca slum, said ministry spokesman Abderrahman Achour. One of the wounded was the dead man's companion, who was hospitalized with burns and a throat injury.

Both men were carrying explosives. But officials believe the cybercafe may not have been their target and that the explosion was an accident, Mokhtar Bekkali Kacemi, the general affairs director for Casablanca province, was quoted by the MAP state news agency as saying.

The men were "probably preparing to commit a criminal act" later, Kacemi said.

Moroccan police have been cracking down on suspected Islamist extremists since suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003 killed 45 people and woke the North African kingdom to the threat of Islamic terrorism.

The dead man was identified as Abdelftah Raidi, who was convicted of suspected terror links and sentenced to five years in prison before being pardoned in 2005, Achour told The Associated Press. Raidi, a Casablanca native in his early 20s, was unemployed, he said.

Raidi's injured companion was identified as Yusuf Khoudri, from the same Casablanca neighborhood, Achour said.

The news agency reported that two men entered the cafe at 10 p.m. Sunday seeking access to terrorist sites, but the owner's son refused. A scuffle broke out, and the owner called for help before Raidi's explosives went off, Kacemi was quoted as saying by MAP. Khoudri then fled, dropping an explosives belt on his way out, the official said. He was arrested about an hour later.

Khoudri was taken to Mohamed V Hospital in Casablanca, where he underwent an operation on his throat, the ministry spokesman said. Police questioning was limited because of his injury.

The other three injured people included the Internet cafe owner's son, MAP reported.

© 2007 The Associated Press