At least 14 killed in terrorist attack in Morocco

At least 14 killed in terrorist attack in Morocco
# 28 April 2011 17:59 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. At least two French citizens were among at least 14 people killed in a terrorist attack in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Thursday, APA reports quoting website.
A Briton was also believed to have been among the victims of the explosion at a cafeteria on a central city square, according to the daily.
Spanish media put the number of fatalities at 18. Most of them were believed to be foreign tourists.
Twenty people were reported injured, some of them seriously, DPA reported.
Analysis of the initial evidence confirmed that the explosion was an attack, the causes of which would be investigated, the Moroccan Interior Ministry said.
Emergency teams were sent to attend to the injured, who included cafeteria employees as well as clients.
The blast occurred in a historic neighbourhood of the city of 900,000 residents, whose Moorish palaces have turned it into one of Morocco’s most popular tourist destinations.
The Argana cafeteria, which was targeted by the attack, is a tourist magnet serving traditional North African cuisine.
The "enormous" explosion could be heard as far as two kilometres away, eyewitnesses said.
The attack followed months of pro-democracy demonstrations in Morocco, which had first remained untouched by the unrest in other Arab countries.
The demonstrations prompted King Mohammed VI to announce a sweeping constitutional reform. This week, the government announced salary hikes for civil servants in an apparent attempt to stem the unrest.
Several people have been killed during rioting which, however, has not been linked with terrorism.
Moroccan security forces have cracked down on Islamist terrorism since 2003, when a string of bombings targeting Western and Jewish interests killed 33 civilians and 12 bombers.
Security forces have detained thousands of terrorist suspects, and dismantled dozens of alleged terrorist cells. Despite the large numbers of arrests and some minor attacks in recent years, Morocco is not regarded as a hotbed of Islamist terrorism.
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