Scene of Moroccan cafe bombing 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)
Israeli Consul General in Shanghai confirmed Thursday overnight that a Jewish
couple living in the Chinese city were among the 15 people killed in Thursday's suicide
bombing at a cafe in Marrakesh, Morroco.
Morrocan's were among the victims, as well as other foreigners including
six French, one British and one Dutch citizen. Around twenty people
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Consul Jackie Eldan told Israel
Radio that the couple, a 30-year-old pregnant Israeli woman and her
Moroccan-born husband, traveled to Marrakesh with their two-year-old son
to visit the husband's family for Passover. The couple was identified as Michal and Massoud Weizman.
They left the baby
with the grandmother while they went for a visit in the city. They were
in the cafe when the suicide bomber detonated the explosives.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned "in the strongest terms" the terrorist attack.
extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of this cowardly attack
and stand with the people of Morocco at this difficult time," Clinton
said. "Acts of terrorism must not be tolerated wherever and whenever
Earlier Thursday, Moroccan state television said the attack on the bustling tourist destination of Marrakesh, bore the hallmark
of Islamist terrorists.
The blast ripped through a cafe
overlooking Marrakesh's Jamaa el-Fnaa square, a spot that is often
packed with foreign tourists. A Reuters photographer said he saw
rescuers pulling dismembered bodies from the wreckage.
"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 residents in Marrakesh who were near the square told Reuters the
explosion was carried out by a suicide bomber, but there was no
immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
If confirmed as the work of Islamist terrorists, 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, has promised to reform the constitution
to placate protesters who have been inspired by uprisings in other part
of the Arab world. But a fresh round of protests is planned for this
"I heard a massive blast. The first and second floors of the building
were destroyed," said one local woman, who did not want to be
identified. "Some witnesses said they have seen a man carrying a bag
entering the cafe before the blast occurred."
The cafe is in the Marrakesh medina, or old city, which is designated by
the United Nation's cultural arm as a World Heritage Site. It is
usually packed with stalls, story-tellers and snake-charmers seeking to
"You can't find a more emblematic target than Jamaa el-Fnaa square," said a Frenchman who owns a restaurant in the city.
"With this attack and amid the worrying unrest in the region, tourism
will hit the doldrums for some time," said the businessman, who did not
want his name published.
The roof over the cafe's upstairs terrace was ripped off by the force of
the explosion and pieces of plaster and electrical wires hung from the
The body of one of the victims lay amid the rubble, covered by a
blanket, with one hand sticking out. Blood stained the floor of the cafe
red in several places.
"I heard a very loud blast in the square. It occurred inside Argana
cafe. When I approached the scene, I saw shredded bodies being pulled
out of the cafe," the Reuters photographer said.
"The first floor bore the brunt of the damage while the ground floor was
almost intact ... There are a lot of police who, with forensics, are
sifting through the debris."