Morocco lowers security alert after peaceful polls

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RABAT, Sep 15 (Reuters) Morocco cut its national security alert to intermediate from a maximum rating imposed in July after repeated al Qaeda threats to hit the kingdom and other North African states, the Interior Ministry said today.

It did not give a reason for the decision to lower the warning level to intermediate, which came after peaceful parliamentary elections on September 7.

''The public authorities, conscious of the persistence of the terrorist threat against our country, will continue their efforts to protect the kingdom,'' the ministry said in a statement.

The maximum alert rating, indicating the authorities suspected an attack by radical Islamists was imminent, came after seven suicide bombers blew themselves up in Casablanca in March and April, killing themselves and a police officer.

Early in August, a 30-year-old man tried but failed to blow himself up on a bus carrying foreign tourists at Meknes, 130 km (81 miles) from the capital Rabat.

Some officials and tourism industry workers have said this year's bombings and the top security alert appeared to have slowed the flow of tourists to the country. Tourism has become Morocco's biggest source of foreign currency, helping offset big trade deficits.

REUTERS GL AS2332

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