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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06CASABLANCA562 2006-05-25 09:23:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Casablanca
Cable title:  

CASABLANCA COMMEMORATES THIRD YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF

Tags:   PREL PGOV PHUM MO 
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1. This cable is sensitive but unclassified, please protect
accordingly.



2. (U) Summary: On May 16 2006, the city of Casablanca
peacefully commemorated those who fell to terrorism three
years ago when 12 suicide bombers struck five sites around
the city. Government officials, civil society leaders,
family members of those killed, and survivors of the attacks
gathered before a memorial erected to honor the victims.
The GOM used the occasion to present financial compensation
checks to 11 victims who survived the attacks and government
and political party officials took the opportunity to call
for a unified front in the fight against terrorism. End
Summary.



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United for Peace


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3. (U) On the third anniversary of the May 16, 2003,
terrorist bombings at five location throughout Casablanca,
hundreds of people gathered peacefully in the city's
Mohammad V Square to honor the 33 people killed in the
attacks. The participants rejected any demands for
retribution and instead called for tolerance, unity, and
peace. Among those, making an impassioned plea for social
harmony was Souad Khammal, president of the May 16, Victim's
Association, who lost her husband and son in the attack.
Khammal thanked Morocco's King Mohammed VI and the people of
Morocco for their support of the families of the victims.



4. (U) Echoing these appeals for peace was Abdellah Baha,
assistant secretary general of Morocco's moderate Islamic
party, the Justice and Development Party (PJD). The PJD,
widely criticized after the bombings because of Islamic
ties, called on all sectors, public and private, to remain
"united against terrorism." Speaking out as well was the
Party for Socialist Progress (PPS), who reminded the GOM
that it must remain vigilant in its fight against terrorism
while keeping a close eye on the problems faced by youth in
Morocco's slums and rural areas.



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Comment


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5. (SBU) Casablanca has shown great resiliency since the
May 2003 attacks and areas like Sidi Mouman, home to the
majority of the suicide bombers, are now a showplace of new
constructions and progress. However, other poor
neighborhoods here show signs of the same sense of
dissatisfaction and social exclusion, brought on by poverty
and unemployment that fostered the fertile breeding ground
for extremist influence, which enabled the planners to find
willing participants. Many locals perceive that in some
areas of Casablanca conservatism is sharply on the rise, and
there is concern that the GOM's current efforts to limit
extremist influence may not succeed.

GREENE