Al-Qaeda Suspect Nabbed for Cafe Bombing in Marrakesh

Posted on Wed 05/11/2011 by


By Jim Kouri, CPP.

A prime suspect arrested by Morocco security agents in that nation’s intense investigation of the deadly April 28 terrorist bombing in Marrakesh has been linked to al-Qaeda, according to a report by Morocco’s Interior Ministry to the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday.

The terrorist bombing at Cafe Argana in Marrakesh’s central square killed 17 people — most of whom were Europeans—and wounded another 20 victims.

According to the Moroccan American Center for Policy, World leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have condemned the bombing. Morocco has won praise for its thoroughness and restraint during its investigation of the bombing.

Three Moroccan suspects were arrested in Safi, 220 miles south of Casablanca.  The lead suspect, who was “linked to Al-Qaeda,” had “made two [improvised] explosive devices (IEDs), which were triggered from a distance” by mobile phone, said the Interior Ministry in his statement.

The terrorist chose the Argana cafe because it is popular with Moroccan and foreign tourists, according to investigators.

Investigators claim they found that the suspects learned how to make the bombs on the Internet and “were absorbed by jihadist ideology,” with “allegiance to al-Qaeda, and had already made several attempts to join some of the hotbeds of tension,” including Chechnya and Iraq, before deciding to carry out their attack in Morocco.

Immediately following the attack, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called for respect for “the primacy of the rule of law” and vowed that the bombing wouldn’t derail Morocco’s new program of constitutional reforms, which he outlined in a speech to the nation on March 9.

Earlier this week, Moroccan Islamists said “they felt reassured that authorities acted with restraint and did not carry out mass arrests as they did in the wake of  the 2003 attacks.”

The Marrakesh attack occurred just days before U.S. Navy SEALs killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. While President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates received most of the news media’s attention, it was Vice Admiral William McRaven who hatched the plan using the elite special forces unit SEAL Team 6. Contributing Editor Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a columnist for The Examiner ( and New Media Alliance (  In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB ( Jim Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

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