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Bomb attack in Morocco tourist cafe kills 15

By Youssef Boudlal,

MARRAKESH, Morocco — A bomb killed 15 people, including 10 foreigners, in Morocco’s bustling tourist destination of Marrakesh, state television said Thursday, in an attack that bore the hallmark of Islamist militants.

The blast ripped through a cafe overlooking Marrakesh’s Jamaa el-Fnaa square, a spot that is often packed with foreign tourists.

State-run 2M television said the 15 dead comprised six French nationals, five Moroccans and four foreigners whose nationality it did not give. At least 20 people were injured.

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

Two Marrakesh residents who were near the square said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, but there was no immediate assertion of responsibility.

If confirmed as the work of Islamist militants, the attack would be the first such major attack in Morocco since 2003, when suicide bombings in the commercial capital, Casablanca, killed more than 45 people.

Morocco’s ruler, King Mohammed VI, has promised to reform the constitution to placate protesters who have been inspired by uprisings in other parts of the Arab world. But a fresh round of protests is planned for Sunday.

The latest blast is likely to hurt Morocco’s lucrative tourism trade, already struggling to recover from the effects of the global downturn.

— Reuters

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