Morocco Tourist Café Blast Kills 14

Argana CafeA powerful blast ripped through a café frequented by foreign tourists in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh Thursday, killing 14 people and injuring 20 others, in an attack that could seriously affect the North African country’s tourism industry.

The explosion occurred at the Café Argana located in the area around the Jamaa el-Fnaa square, a bustling market within the Marrakesh medina, or old city, which has been designated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Tourists usually troop to the square, where food vendors, story-tellers, and snake charmers ply their trade.

The Moroccan Interior Ministry said the explosion was most likely an attack based on analysis of evidence by forensic experts. “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 ministry said in a statement. The ministry’s pronouncement contradicts an earlier source who told Reuters that the incident was caused by a gas explosion.