2011 Marrakesh bombing
Part of Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002–present)
Djemaa el Fna on the day after the bombing
LocationCafe Argana, Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco
Date28 April 2011
11:50 a.m. (UTC+1)
TargetForeign tourists in Morocco
Attack type
Domestic terrorism, bombing, mass murder
WeaponsTwo remote-detonated TATP pressure cooker nail bombs
Perpetrators Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (alleged, denied involvement)
AssailantAdil El-Atmani
MotiveFrench intervention in the Middle East

The 2011 Marrakesh bombing was a domestic terrorist bombing of the Argana Cafe in Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco, on April 28, 2011.[1] A lone terrorist, Adil El-Atmani, planted two homemade pressure cooker bombs hidden inside of a backpack at the cafe and detonated them at 11:50 a.m., killing 17 and injuring 25.[2][3] Many of the dead were tourists, including a group of French students.[4][5]

El-Atmani, a 25 year-old shoe salesman, pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, who denied involvement in the attack.[6][7] He was arrested six days later after a SIM card registered under his name was found in what remained of the bomb.[8] During questioning, he said that he learned bomb-making on the Internet.[9] A letter to the French government found on his laptop ordered the withdrawal of French troops in the Middle East, threatening to "attack targets in the heart of France" if his order was not fulfilled within the twenty days following the attack.[10]

Adil El-Atmani was sentenced to death for the attack by an anti-terrorism court in Salé.[11] He is awaiting execution at Moul El Bergui central prison in Safi.[12] He was put in solitary confinement in 2017 after attempting to kill his cellmate.[12]


17 people were killed, of which fourteen died on the site, while three more succumbed to their injuries the next day. 25 people were injured, four seriously, including Russian computer hacker Roman Seleznev, a portion of whose skull was blown off.[13]

The casualties were eight French nationals, including a girl of 10 years, originally from northern France,[14] an Israeli-Canadian woman and her Moroccan husband,[15] another Moroccan citizen,[16] a Briton (Peter Moss, 59, from London who was a former writer for the newspaper The Jewish Chronicle),[17] a Dutchman, a Swiss and a Portuguese.[18] The Swiss and the Portuguese were the companions of two Ticino natives injured in the same attack.

Among the injured, 14 were hospitalised 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.[19]


Morocco blamed Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb for the bombing.[20] The group has been fighting an insurgent campaign since 2002. However, Al Qaeda denied responsibility for the blast.[20]

On 28 October 2011, in court in Rabat, Adel al-Othmani was sentenced to death for his role in the bombing. [21] Hakim Dah received a life sentence. Four others were given four years and three were given a two-year sentence for their roles. The defendants complained that the case against them was based on confessions coerced through torture and lacked hard evidence.[22]

International reactions

 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".[23]

 France issued a strong condemnation of the blasts; French president Nicolas Sarkozy describing them as "cruel and cowardly".[24] Alain Juppé, the French foreign minister, denounced what it considered to be a "barbaric terrorist attack that nothing can justify", calling for "all light to be shed on this revolting crime, for those responsible to be found, tried and punished".[25]

 Germany urged that the attack "must not stop the reform process that has been initiated in Morocco", referring to the ongoing "Arab Spring".[25]

 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."[26]


  1. ^ "Alors qu'Al Qaïda menace de venger Ben Laden: Attentat de Marrakech : sur les traces d'éventuelles ramifications". ALBAYANE (in French). May 8, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  2. ^ "Marrakesh blast: 'It was a scene of carnage'". BBC News. April 28, 2011.
  3. ^ Martin, Jay (May 9, 2011). "Pressure on Moroccan government spikes over bombing". CNN. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  4. ^ "Morocco investigates deadly Marrakesh blast". France 24. April 29, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  5. ^ "Deadly blast devastates Marrakesh cafe – Africa". Al Jazeera English. April 28, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  6. ^ Oberlé, Thierry (May 6, 2011). "L'incroyable histoire du terroriste de Marrakech". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  7. ^ "Attentat de Marrakech : Aqmi nie toute responsabilité". RFI (in French). May 8, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  8. ^ "Le principal suspect de l'attentat de Marrakech revient sur ses aveux". RFI (in French). September 23, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  9. ^ "الحكم بإعدام عادل العثماني المتهم بتفجير مقهى أركانة في المغرب". Elaph - إيلاف (in Arabic). October 29, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  10. ^ ADDAM, Rida. "Attentat de Marrakech : l'ordinateur d'Al Otmani a livré ses secrets : La France et les Français, cibles privilégiées des terroristes". Libération (in French). Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  11. ^ Miadi, Fadwa (October 30, 2011). "Café Argana - La peine capitale de retour au Maroc". Le Courrier de l’Atlas (in French). Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  12. ^ a b "عادل العثماني المتورط في تفجير مقهى "أركانة" يحاول قتل سجين داخل زنزانته أثناء نومه". Cawalisse | كواليس اليوم (in Arabic). March 21, 2017. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  13. ^ Seattle, Associated Press in (October 8, 2015). "Russian MP allegedly plotted with imprisoned son to escape US custody". the Guardian. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  14. ^ Morocco bombing will not go unpunished: France (AFP)
  15. ^ "Pregnant Canadian, husband killed in Morocco blast". Canada: CBC. April 29, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  16. ^ "Israeli woman, husband killed in Morocco bombing". Ynetnews.com. June 20, 1995. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  17. ^ "Moroccan ambassador writes of 'sorrow' over Peter Moss death". Thejc.com. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  18. ^ Laing, Aislinn (April 30, 2011). "Al-Qaeda explosive used in Marrakesh bomb, investigators reveal, as family mourns slain Briton". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  19. ^ "Cristina Caccia non-ce l'ha fatta". RSI (in Italian). CH. May 6, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
  20. ^ a b John, Mark (May 7, 2011). "Qaeda denies involvement in Morocco cafe bomb attack". Reuters. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  21. ^ "Marrakesh cafe bomber Adel Othmani given death sentence". BBC News. October 28, 2011.
  22. ^ "Morocco court issues death sentence in cafe attack". Associated Press. October 28, 2011.
  23. ^ "Armenian President sends condolences to King of Morocco". News.am. June 13, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  24. ^ "World leaders 'appalled' at deadly Morocco blast". Deutsche Welle. April 28, 2011. Archived from the original on March 3, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  25. ^ a b "Blast devastates Marrakesh cafe". Al Jazeera. April 28, 2021. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  26. ^ "Terrorist attack at cafe in heart of Moroccan tourist city, 14 dead, 11 foreigners". Global News. April 28, 2021. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved December 11, 2021.

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