Tourists killed in Morocco terrorist bomb

Tourists killed in Morocco terrorist bomb

Morocco has launched an investigation into a bomb attack that left 16 people dead including 11 foreigners in a popular tourist café in Marrakech.

Officials said a suicide bomber could have caused the blast.

The death toll rose overnight as two of the injured died of their wounds. The foreign victims are reported to include eight French, one Briton, one Dutch and one Israeli.

Some 20 others were hurt when the blast hit the Argana café in Djemaa el-Fna Square.

No group has so far said it carried out the bombing.

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The last fatal attack in Morocco was in Casablanca in 2003, when 45 people were killed.

As the number of those killed rose on Friday morning, details of the nationalities of those killed began to emerge.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the attack “heinous, cruel and cowardly”, his office sad.

Sarkozy spoke by telephone to King Mohammed IV, who ordered a “speedy and transparent inquiry”.

Moroccan Communications Minister Khalid Naciri told AFP news agency “this was a terrorist act” and that the country would react “with diligence”.

“Morocco is confronted by the same threats as in May 2003,” he said.

Checkpoints have now been set up at the entrances to Morocco’s main cities.

Morocco has remained relatively peaceful amid recent unrest in north Africa and the Arab world, but the king has pledged constitutional reforms following several largely peaceful protests over the past two months.

Djemaa el-Fna square is a Unesco World Heritage site and is popular with foreign tourists, particularly Europeans.