Thursday, April 28, 2011

Morocco: Blast in Marrakesh Cafe Kills at Least 14 - Target Tourists - Video

Panorama restaurant overlooks the main Marrakesh square

An explosion tore through a busy cafe frequented by foreigners in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Thursday, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than a dozen others, Moroccan officials said.

The blast, which occurred around lunchtime in the central Djemaa el Fna Square, appeared to be a deliberate attack on a popular destination in the tourist-filled city, according to a senior Moroccan intelligence official.

An ambulance is seen at the scene of an explosion that rocked the Argana cafe in Marrakesh's main Jamaa el-Fnaa square April 28, 2011
Police and security officials were investigating the nature and cause of the blast. The Moroccan government characterized it as a criminal act but stopped short of describing it as terrorism.

People stand near the scene after an explosion rocked the Argana cafe in Marrakesh's Jamaa el-Fnaa square April 28, 2011.

Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper, reported that two French citizens and an Englishman were among the dead in the cafe, the Argana; Al Arabiya television reported at least 11 foreigners were killed in the blast. Djemaa el Fna is the main square in Marrakesh and has been called the cultural crossroads for all of Morocco.

“There was a huge bang,” one tourist in the square, Andy Birnie of London, told The Associated Press. “There was debris raining down from the sky. Hundreds of people were running in panic, some towards the cafe, some away from the square. The whole front of the cafe is blown away."

Video posted online showed heavy damage to the cafe and people in the square crowding to observe the destruction.

In 2003, 12 suicide bombers attacked five targets in Casablanca, killing 31 people.

NY Times

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