14 die in bombing of Moroccan tourist cafe

Police sort through the damage Thursday after an explosion at a cafe popular among foreign tourists in Marrakech, Morocco. Officials say this is Morocco’s deadliest bombing in eight years.

Associated Press

Police sort through the damage Thursday after an explosion at a cafe popular among foreign tourists in Marrakech, Morocco. Officials say this is Morocco’s deadliest bombing in eight years.

MARRAKECH, Morocco — A massive terrorist bombing tore through a tourist cafe in the bustling heart of Marrakech's old quarter, killing at least 11 foreigners and three Moroccans in the country's deadliest attack in eight years.

At least 23 people were wounded in the blast a few minutes before noon Thursday in Djemma el-Fna square, one of the top attractions in a country that depends heavily on tourism, Moroccan Interior Minister Taib Chergaoui said.

Government spokesman Khalid Naciri said it was too soon to lay blame for what he called a terrorist attack, but he noted that Morocco regularly dismantles cells linked to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and says it has disrupted several plots.

At least eight French citizens were being treated at Marrakech's main Tofail Hospital, along with a Canadian, a British citizen and three Moroccans, emergency room chief Hicham Nejmi said. Others were being treated at a military hospital and a handful were in private clinics.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that the victims included French citizens. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the British ambassador was traveling to Marrakech.

This former French colony has enjoyed relative stability and political plurality compared to some of its neighbors, but King Mohamed VI holds the final say in all policy, and the country's largest Islamist movement is banned from politics.

The king has pledged constitutional reforms in response to several largely peaceful protests over the past two months that were inspired by popular uprisings that pushed out autocrats in nearby Tunisia and Egypt.

14 die in bombing of Moroccan tourist cafe 04/28/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011 11:53pm]

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