2011 Marrakesh bombing

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2011 Marrakesh bombing
Marrakech Bombing Site Late in the Day.jpg
Djemaa el Fna on the day after the bombing
Location Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, Marrakesh, Morocco
Date 28 April 2011
before noon (UTC+1)
Attack type
Explosive device
Deaths 17
Non-fatal injuries
The bombing site as it looked in 2006, well before the bombing took place, for comparison

The 2011 Marrakesh bombing killed 17 people in the city of Marrakesh, Morocco on 28 April 2011, just before noon.[1] The blast, from a bomb left in a bag,[2] destroyed the Argana cafe in Jemaa el-Fnaa square, a popular tourist spot. At least 20 people were injured.[3][4] Most of the dead were tourists, including one group of French students.


17 people were killed, of which 14 died on the site, while 3 more were reported dead the next day. 25 people were injured, four seriously.

Police investigating on the site a few hours after the explosion

Eight French nationals were killed, one of them a girl of 10 years, originally from northern France.[5] Also killed were an Israeli-Canadian,[6] a Briton (Peter Moss, 59, from London who was a former writer for the newspaper The Jewish Chronicle),[7] a Dutchman, a Swiss, and a Portuguese living in Switzerland.[8] The Swiss and Portuguese were the companions of two Ticino natives injured in the same attack.

In addition to these foreign nationals, two Moroccans were killed. One was the husband of the Israeli-Canadian killed.[9]

Among the injured, 14 were hospitalized and four were repatriated to their country the next day (two Swiss and two Russians), while others left the hospital after receiving the necessary care. One of the Swiss later died while in hospital in Zurich.[10]


Morocco blamed Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb for the bombing.[11] The group has been fighting an insurgent campaign since 2002. However, Al Qaeda denied responsibility for the blast.[11] Rumors on internet blogs, that have been removed, argue that the attack was not carried out by Islamic terrorists. The modus operandi is incongruent with Al Qaeda's or the branches of Al Qaeda methods. The bomb was detonated remotely, reminiscent of militant groups working for government or parastates. The rumors talk about a government plot to appease protesters during the Arab Spring.

On 28 October 2011, in court in Rabat, Adel al-Othmani was sentenced to death for his role in the bombing. [12] Hakim Dah received a life sentence. Four others were given four years and three were given a two-year sentence for their roles. All defendants tried to plead not guilty and upon visit of a French Government authority (Mr. Gaumy) the sentences were increased from 4 to 10 years and from life in jail to death. The defendants complain that they were convicted only based on witnesses interrogated by police while none of the witnesses of the defense were allowed to testify.[13] [14]

International reactions[edit]

 Armenia – President Serzh Sargsyan sent his condolences to the King of Morocco and stated his support "in finding the culprits and bringing them to justice.”[15]

 France condemned the blast as being "cruel and cowardly". Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said : "with consternation of the terrorist attack,". Alain Juppé, the French foreign minister, criticized "this barbaric terrorist attack that nothing can justify", calling in a statement for "all light to be shed on this revolting crime, for those responsible to be found, tried and punished". Marine Le Pen, a French MEP and president of the Front National, claimed that the announcement of Osama bin Laden's execution was "a just and appropriate answer to the death of the victims of Marrakesh who French people had mourned for some days".[16]

 Germany urged that the attack "must not stop the reform process that has been initiated in Morocco", referring to the ongoing "Arab Spring".

 USA - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that "the United States condemns in the strongest terms today's terrorist attack that killed and injured innocent people at a cafe in Marrakesh, Morocco. We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of this cowardly attack and stand with the people of Morocco at this difficult time."


  1. ^ "Marrakesh blast: 'It was a scene of carnage'". BBC News. 28 April 2011. 
  2. ^ From Martin Jay, For CNN (9 May 2011). "Pressure on Moroccan government spikes over bombing". CNN. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Morocco: Marrakesh bomb strikes Djemaa el-Fna square". BBC News. 28 April 2011. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Deadly blast devastates Marrakesh cafe – Africa". Al Jazeera English. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Morocco bombing will not go unpunished: France (AFP)
  6. ^ 29 Apr 2011 7:07 am ET (29 April 2011). "Pregnant Canadian, husband killed in Morocco blast". Canada: CBC. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Moroccan ambassador writes of 'sorrow' over Peter Moss death". Thejc.com. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Laing, Aislinn (30 April 2011). "Al-Qaeda explosive used in Marrakesh bomb, investigators reveal, as family mourns slain Briton". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Israeli woman, husband killed in Morocco bombing". Ynetnews.com. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Cristina Caccia non ce l'ha fatta". RSI (in Italian). CH. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  11. ^ a b John, Mark (7 May 2011). "Qaeda denies involvement in Morocco cafe bomb attack". Reuters. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Marrakesh cafe bomber Adel Othmani given death sentence". BBC News. 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  13. ^ http://gulftoday.ae/portal/12a5c572-1b9f-44dc-b7f8-d86c3797f324.aspx
  14. ^ "Morocco court issues death sentence in cafe attack". Daily Sentinel. 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  15. ^ "Armenian President sends condolences to King of Morocco". News.am. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Death of a terrorist" (in French). Front National. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 

Coordinates: 31°37′28″N 7°59′35″W / 31.6244°N 7.9931°W / 31.6244; -7.9931