The latest assassination attempt against king Hassan of Morocco ??? the second abortive coup in?
The latest assassination attempt against king Hassan of Morocco ??? the second abortive coup in 14 months -- left eight people dead and 47 wounded. The wounded included a number of cabinet ministers, hit when rebel Mor??? Air Force Jet Fighters a??? airport after an attempt to shoot down King Hassan's airliner.
Rabat was outwardly calm today. (Thursday), 24 hours after the airport strafing and a subsequent attack by rebel jets on the Royal Palace. A major security operation closed off the airport, where buildings and cars showed evidence of the attack. Armed police manned hastily erected roadblocks on major routeways.
King Hassan, himself, was reported safe at one of his palaces. He is said to have stayed calm during the early attack on the Boeing 727 airliner bringing him back from France. Bullets from the rebel jet fighters riddled the airliner, smashed part of the undercarriage and put two of the three engines out of action.
When the airliner still landed safely, the rebel jets strafed the airport and later attacked the Royal Palace in Rabat. The King, however, had chosen to drive with his family to Skhirat Palace -- scene of last year's attempted Army coup.
Shortly afterwards, the Moroccan Defence Minister, General Mohammed Oufkir, was shot dead. It was officially reported that he took his own life feeling that he was responsible for preventing the attacks on the King.
Nine fighter pilots were reported arrested after Moroccan troops had taken control of Kenitra airbase. Among those detained was the base commander, who apparently baled out of his jet when it ran out of fuel.
Five other airmen flew to Gibraltar by helicopter -- those three of then were said not to have been implicated in the plot against King Hassan. The other two asked for asylum. But later tonight all five men were sent back to Morocco by the British authorities.