Morocco determined to protect tourism after explosion

Reuters, Friday 29 Apr 2011

Morocco is determined to restore confidence in its vital tourism industry after an attack on a cafe packed with tourists in the city of Marrakesh, a senior government official said on Friday.

"To go to a country as a tourist and return dead is a terrible thing," Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar told reporters on a visit to Madrid.

"We are going to work very hard so that this does not have an impact on tourism in Marrakesh."

Tourism is a major source of revenue for Morocco, which said the bomb attack on the cafe overlooking Marrakesh's Jamaa el-Fnaa square was a terrorist act.

Mezouar said the government had no information on who might have been behind the attack which killed at least 14 people, including 10 foreigners.

Security experts said the attack was in line with Islamist militants' previous attempts -- most of them unsuccessful -- to undermine Morocco's rulers by targeting the tourism industry.

In 2003, bombings in the commercial capital, Casablanca, killed more than 45 people.

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