MARRAKECH, Morocco – Snake charmer Ghali Nouiti was dangling his pet around the neck of a wary European tourist for a photo shoot, when even greater fright struck: a terror bombing that Moroccan authorities now say bears the hallmarks of an al-Qaida attack.

Thursday’s blast at a popular cafe overlooking the famed Djemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech blew shrapnel, body parts and debris onto the vast tile-covered plaza, killing at least 16 people — including 14 foreign tourists — and shattering Morocco’s image as a peaceful getaway spot.

“The manner reminds us of the style used generally by al-Qaida,” Interior Minister Taieb Cherqaoui said Friday, “and this leads us to think that there is a possibility of more dangers to come.”

He stopped short of confirming a link with the terror group, whose affiliate in North Africa has been mainly active in neighboring Algeria and farther south.

The death toll rose to 16 after a French woman died of her wounds, he said. Overall, seven French, two Canadians, a Dutch and a Briton were among those killed. Experts were still trying to identify the other three through DNA tests, but he said they too were believed to be foreigners.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, Morocco’s deadliest attack since five near-simultaneous bombings left 45 people dead — including a dozen attackers — in the country’s economic capital, Casablanca, in 2003.

Cherqaoui said that initial results suggested the bomb had been packed with nails and was set off remotely. Earlier, Interpol, the international police body, had said it appeared to be a suicide attack.

With an asp’s head pinched between his fingers, Nouiti, a 30-year-old and third-generation snake charmer, said one of his colleagues was hospitalized after being hit in the nose by a projected nail.

He and many others in Marrakech said they fear for the economic fallout if tourists are scared away — and for a country of 30 million that attracted nearly 10 million tourists last year, the effect is potentially disastrous.

Ahmed El Gharbi, the co-owner of Cafe Glacier, another restaurant offering majestic views over Djemaa el-Fna, said tourist traffic Friday evening was down about 70 percent from a regular day.

“The attackers have destroyed us,” Nouiti said. As the blast struck, his legs buckled, and even though he wanted to rush to help, he simply couldn’t move.

“Yesterday, the plaza was full, and we had just passed in front of the cafe … We saw a very big plume of smoke, and a lot of objects go up in the air,” said Stephane Le Pretre, a 46-year-old tourist from Rouen in northwest France, traveling with his children. They watched sheets laid over the dead.

In a quiet, peaceful vigil, hundreds from the city’s crucial hospitality industry thronged the site Friday, variously hoisting white flowers, raising up two fingers in a “V” or wearing stickers that read: “I (heart) Marrakech.”