Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

NSA targets "Tor" network users

Read more

WEB NEWS

Teen slammed for taking smiling selfie at Auschwitz

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French government hopes to collect €1.8bn from foreign accounts

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

Africa

Morocco investigates deadly Marrakesh blast

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-29

Moroccan authorities have launched an investigation into a remote-controlled bomb attack that killed 15 people, most of them foreign tourists, in a crowded Marrakesh café.

AFP - A bomb in Marrakesh that killed 15 people was set off by a remote-control device, a minister said Friday, as it emerged that an Al-Qaeda group had warned there would be an attack in Morocco.

Léa Lisa Westerhoff reports on the Marrakesh bombing for France 24

Interior Minister Taeb Cherkaoui also told a parliamentary committee that the country was on the alert for further attacks.

"Initial inquiries have shown an explosive product made up of nitrate and ammonium and two TATP explosives, and also with nails -- and the explosion was set off from a distance," Cherkaoui told deputies in the capital Rabat.

"Those who are in the habit of opting for this mode of action from a distance are known, which allows us to think that the danger is still present and we have to remain vigilant and prudent," he added.

Triacetone triperoxyde, or TATP, is relatively easy to make and has surfaced in a number of recent investigations into attacks, including the July 2005 London bombings that killed 56 people and injured another 700.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for Thursday's bombing of a popular tourist cafe in Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh's main square, and Cherkaoui said investigators were exploring all leads "including that of Al-Qaeda".

But a video posted on the Internet three days before the bombing and attributed to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) included a threat to Morocco. AQIM has in the past been active in countries in the region, notably carrying out a series of kidnappings for ransom.

Witnesses said the blast went off on the terrace of the Argana cafe, a favourite haunt for tourists in Marrakesh, wrecking the facade and the first floor.

Cherkaoui's statement appeared to revise earlier speculation from Moroccan officials that the attack might have been a suicide bombing.

The death toll stood at 15, of whom 12 were foreign nationals, and 26 people were wounded, Cherkaoui said. Earlier reports had spoken of 16 dead.

The Moroccan news agency cited official sources in a report saying that among the foreign nationals killed in the blast were "two Moroccans, two French nationals, two Canadians and a Dutch national".

Authorities in France said at least six of the dead were French while the Netherlands confirmed the death of the Dutchman.

Israeli media reported that a 30-year-old pregnant Israeli woman and her husband, who was originally from Morocco, were among those killed.

Dutch tourist John Van Leeuwen said he had looked the man believed responsible for the attack in the eyes moments before his bomb exploded.

"There were only tourists in the cafe, and three other Moroccans, and one guy that didn't initially look suspicious," Van Leeuwen told AFP by telephone as he waited to catch a flight home with Marjolein Appel, 39.

"But after we found out it wasn't a gas explosion, my girlfriend and I, we looked at each other, and said that must have been him.

The man in question had been carrying "two huge bags", and he thought the man had left the cafe shortly after him and his girlfriend, he added.

Police created a photofit image of the alleged bomber based on their description and "it looks as if it's someone that is familiar to the police", said Van Leeuwen.

Thursday's attack came in the wake of a growing movement for democratic reform in Morocco.

In his statement, Cherkaoui promised: "This act will not stop the choice of the Moroccan state to pursue the march of democracy and the respect of human rights."

There have been three protests since February to demand reform, prompting King Mohammed VI to announce major political changes, including greater judicial independence.

In mid-April, he pardoned political prisoners, including Islamists, in a gesture of appeasement.

French intelligence and anti-terrorism experts on Friday travelled to Marrakesh to help in the probe, a Moroccan official said.

International police agency Interpol condemned the attack and said it had offered its help to Moroccan investigators.

Britain, France, Germany, Spain, the European Union, the United Nations and the United States have also denounced the bombing.

The Marrakesh attack was the deadliest in the North African monarchy since 33 people were killed by 12 suicide bombers in Casablanca in 2003. An attempted attack in 2007 was thwarted and one of three would-be bombers killed.

Morocco depends heavily on tourism, with around 9.4 million tourists visiting the country in 2010, two million of them French.

 

Map of Marrakesh's main square Jamaa el-Fna

 

Date created : 2011-04-29

  • MOROCCO

    Marrakesh blast a 'terrorist act', government says

    Read more

  • MOROCCO

    Deadly explosion rocks Marrakesh's main square

    Read more

COMMENT(S)