Morocco releases picture of cafe bombing suspect

AP News
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Posted: May 06, 2011 2:55 PM
Morocco releases picture of cafe bombing suspect

A 25-year-old Swiss woman died Friday from wounds suffered in last week's explosion at a Marrakech cafe, while Moroccan authorities released a photo of the young man they say is the main perpetrator of the attack.

Zurich University Hospital confirmed the death of Cristina Caccia, which raised the toll in the terror attack to 17.

Caccia's death coincided with the funeral of her boyfriend, 23-year-old Corrado Mondada, in the southern Swiss city of Bellinzona. A third Swiss national _ Morena Pedruzzi, 26 _ is still in hospital with serious injuries.

Most of those killed and injured in the April 28 explosion that ripped through the Argana cafe were foreign visitors.

Three Moroccan nationals have been arrested in connection with the bombing, including the main suspect _ a man authorities say has loyalties to al-Qaida who had tried to travel to Iraq and Chechnya.

The Interior Ministry released Friday a picture of the suspect, who ministry officials identified as Adil Al Athmani. The close-up shot shows a chubby faced young man with short black hair, wearing a purple shirt and dark jacket.

Interior Minister Taieb Cherqaoui said it took Athmani six months to produce two bombs weighing 6 and 9 kilograms (13 and 20 pounds) each. Cherqaoui said Athmani stored the explosives at his family home in the coastal town of Safi, northwest of Marrakech.

An Interior Ministry statement Thursday said the suspect had learned to make the remotely detonated explosive devices on the Internet and disguised himself as a tourist to plant them in the Argana.

Cherqaoui told reporters that the suspect had been expelled from Portugal in 2004, from Syria in 2007, and Libya in 2008.

"He tried to go abroad many times, but when he failed, he decided to do a big attack in Morocco itself," Cherqaoui said.

In France _ home to eight of the tourists killed _ Interior Minister Claude Gueant said Wednesday that Cherqaoui had told him that the investigation should continue because there may be more arrests.

The blast tore through the Argana cafe in Marrakech's old town _ a popular destination for foreign tourists. The attack was the worst to hit the North African kingdom since 2003, when five simultaneous bombings in Casablanca killed 33 people.

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Hassan Alaoui in Rabat, Morocco, and Pierre-Yves Roger in Paris contributed to this report.