Suspects in Scandinavian hikers murder pledged allegiance to IS, says Moroccan prosecutor

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By Euronews  with Reuters, AFP
 Two Scandanavian tourists were found dead while hiking in Morocco
Two Scandanavian tourists were found dead while hiking in Morocco   -   Copyright  Reuters

Several men suspected in the killing of two Scandinavian hikers murder pledged allegiance to IS, according to Moroccan authorities. 

The women’s bodies were found on Monday in an isolated area near Imlil, on the way to Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak and a popular hiking destination.

The man was arrested in Marrakech, Morocco’s main tourist hub, and police were hunting other individuals identified as suspects.

“We are working to bring before justice three other suspects on the run,” said police spokesman Boubker Sabik.

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, of DenmarkReuters

The two tourists, Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, of Denmark and 28-year-old Maren Ueland of Norway, were killed in an unguarded area in hard to reach mountains, he said.

Maren Ueland, 28, of NorwayReuters

Investigators are also going on to authenticate a videotape shared on social media claiming to show the killing of one of the tourists, the general prosecutor said in a statement.

The video purportedly showed the killing, with a woman screaming while a man cuts her neck with what appears to be a kitchen knife.

A source from Imlil said one of the victims was found dead inside her tent while another was found outside.

Citing a security source, Morocco’s public TV channel 2M said on its website that investigations showed that the slaying of the two tourists was militant-related. It did not elaborate.

Morocco has been largely insulated from the militant attacks that plagued other countries in North Africa. The latest bomb attack in the country dates back to April 2011 when 17 people were killed in a restaurant in Marrakech.

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Morocco has stepped up its effort to counter militant groups with the creation in 2015 of its own version of the FBI. The Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations has so far broken up 57 militant cells, including eight in 2018.

More than 1,000 Moroccan youths, predominantly from the north of the country, have joined militant groups in the Middle East.