RABAT, Morocco — Three Moroccan nationals were arrested in last week’s deadly bombing at a Marrakech cafe, including the main suspect — a man with loyalties to al-Qaida who had attempted to travel to Iraq and Chechnya, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
The April 28 explosion that tore through the Argana cafe, a popula tourist hangout in the centre of the kingdom’s biggest tourist magnet, Marrakech, killed 16 people, most of them tourists.
The statement said the suspect it identified as the main perpetrator had targeted the Argana specifically because tourists flocked to it.
The man disguised himself as a foreign visitor to plant the explosives, devices that could be detonated remotely, authorities said.
He had learned to make the devices on the Internet, the statement said. It added that investigators found some explosive materials and tools that were discarded after the explosion.
“He made many attempts to go to such hot spots as Chechnya and Iraq before deciding to make this attack on Moroccan soil,” the statement said.
The Marrakech attack was the worst to hit the North African kingdom since 2003, when five simultaneous bombings in Casablanca killed 33 people.