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At Least 14 Killed As Bomb Rips Through Tourist Cafe in Morocco

At Least 14 Killed As Bomb Rips Through Tourist Cafe in Morocco

A deadly bomb blast ripped through a popular Moroccan café in the center of Marrakesh just before noon on Thursday, killing at least 14 and injuring at least 20. Initial reports say at least 11 of the dead were tourists.

The explosion in the Jemma el Fna square — a top tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage site — is Morocco’s deadliest bombing since 2003, when a round of suicide bombings in Casablanca killed 45 people.  

“You can’t find a more emblematic target than Jamaa-el-Fnaa square,” one restaurant owner in the city told the Guardian. “With this attack and amid the worrying unrest in the region, tourism will hit the doldrums.”

News reports say the government is calling the bombing “a crimininal act.”

“Analysis of the early evidence collected at the site of the blast that occurred Thursday at a cafe in Marrakesh confirms the theory of an attack,” the ministry said in a statement carried by the official MAP news agency, according to MSNBC.

Moroccan government spokesman Khalid Nacir told French television “terrorists” were behind the attack but added that it was “too soon” to give more details, the BBC reports.

Amid the tide of uprisings that have swept the Middle East and North Africa, Moroccans have held several mass protests across the country calling for reforms, although not the ouster of King Mohammed VI.

From CNN:

It is not immediately known whether the attack was linked to unrest across the Arab world or militant activity, although there have been some protests in Morocco lately.

Thousands of Moroccans held a peaceful demonstration nationwide Sunday, calling for a radical overhaul of the country’s governance before a new constitution is unveiled in June by King Mohammed VI.

The march was organized by the Facebook youth movement Fevrier 20. The group said its members would not accept the present draft constitution because it was written by the king’s own people. It denounced his decision to refer the new constitution to a committee he appointed.

King Mohammed announced last month he would give up some of his wide-scale powers and make the judiciary independent — the latter a particularly hot subject in Morocco.

Calls for an end to political detention and questions about the king’s personal business activities were also on protesters’ banners. There was visible resentment at the royal family’s business operations, controlled by its holding company SNI. There were also groups protesting about the prices of basic household items.

A new round of protests is planned for Sunday, MSNBC reports, even as King Mohammed has promised to reform the constitution to placate protesters who have been inspired by uprisings in other part of the Arab world.

To read more about the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa click here  

 

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Photo courtesy of Britrob via Flickr

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10 comments

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6:23PM PDT on May 4, 2011

Sure we know what's going on. The French, Spanish and Italians have very close relations with Morocco, Algeria and Lybia - much of their immigrant labor come from there.

The U.S. has always had good relations with Morocco. This bombing was probably done by Islamists to destabilize the regime there and hit Western tourists.

Not all the change in the region will necessarily be good for us. We can only hope it will be good for the people.

8:28PM PDT on May 1, 2011

one news outlet says bin ladens body will be buried at sea. another says he was killed by predator drone attacks. another says the pakistani's helped out and another says it was a cia who killed him or boots on the ground and how wonderful this should make our soldiers feel. Has everyone been drinking gin?Bury him at sea. Is this aprils fools day all over again? dummies? Are we dummies? He is gonna be buried at sea. shaking my head. the man's been dead, I believe that.

8:03PM PDT on May 1, 2011

I don't know what is really going on in those countries and neither does anyone else. We only know what the news media tells us. Now bin laden is supposedly died or been killed again and the US has his body. They are also saying that bin laden was behind the 1993 bombing of the world trade center, not the other fella. Guess all this is suppose to get bush and cheney off the hook. I get so tired of the lying that our country does. I turned the t.v. off.

9:33PM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

Another Arab country where everyone in society is fed up and do not like whats going on -- Definitely another Arab country bursting at its repressive seams.

6:43PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

Cowards and bombs- like soup and sandwich often found together.

3:31PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

Noted

2:19PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

This is not a protest, it is outright murder of the "infidels". With a shred of luck they'll be caught and beheaded.

7:12AM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

This is tragic and such bombings are cowardly. If people want to fight, have the courage to do it in the open.

I hear two of the victims were Canadians (not that that makes their deaths more tragic than if they were from elsewhere).

6:18AM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

Are we on our way to WW3? Gosh I hope not. So tired.

6:18AM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

Are we on our way to WW3? Gosh I hope not. So tired.

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