Morocco's Jews were once a thriving community of at least 250,000 people, with entire neighborhoods in Casablanca's old city that wore skullcaps and respected the kosher diet.
Now numbering at most 5,000, Morocco's Jewish community is coming to grips with deadly terror attacks that, while not killing any Jews, appeared to target Jewish religious and community sites.
Of the five places where suicide bombers launched near-simultaneous attacks Friday night, three had Jewish connections the Circle of the Israelite Alliance community center, the Israelite cemetery in the old Medina quarter and a Jewish-owned Italian restaurant.
A dozen attackers, ages 18 to 24, used homemade explosives stuffed into backpacks for the bombings that killed 29 bystanders, a security official said on condition of anonymity.
Two suspects have been arrested and were providing valuable information in the investigation, authorities said.
The attackers, all Moroccan, were believed to be Islamic extremists with ties to international terror groups. They had recently returned from an unspecified Persian Gulf country, said the official.
Authorities found chemicals that could be used to make explosives in a home in the Attacharouk neighborhood on Casablanca's eastern edge, the official news agency MAP said Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether they was linked to the bombings.
Many Jews in the North African nation of 31 million people said they enjoy peaceful lives and a good relationship with Muslims overall. The community is concentrated in Casablanca.
"There are no Jews, only Moroccans," King Mohammed V, the present king's grandfather, told Jewish leaders when Nazis came hunting for Jews during World War II.
"'Nothing will happen to you that won't happen to me,'" the king assured community leader Joseph Berdugo, said Berdugo's son Serge, who is now president of the Jewish Community of Morocco.
But last week's attacks have left an undercurrent of unease for some Jews, who were as surprised as the rest of Morocco that such terror had struck.
"Of course we're worried, you can't just turn the page and pretend nothing happened," Joe Kadoch, a co-owner of the Italian restaurant, said. "But I don't think we were targeted it was more the symbols of the West, or nightlife and alcohol."
He said the restaurant, Positano, has received hundreds of letters, faxes and phone calls from people expressing support from across the country.
Jews began arriving in Morocco as early as the first century, before the first Arabs moved to the area largely inhabited by the indigenous Berber population. Waves of Jews and Muslims fled to Morocco from Spain during its Inquisition in the 15th century.
The most recent heyday of Jewish life was in the early 1950s, when up to 280,000 lived in many parts of Morocco while it was a French protectorate, community leaders said.
Intermittent anti-Semitic attacks, international tensions and the lure of the newly formed state of Israel founded in 1948 led many Jews to leave Morocco. One high point of emigration came after the Arab-Israeli Six Day War in 1967 stirred fears of a backlash against Jews in Morocco.
After waves of departure to Israel, France, the United States and elsewhere, the few Jews who remain are often strong backers of the king.