Three more held after two Scandinavian tourists killed in 'act of terror'

Three of the four men being held over the murder of the Scandinavian hikers

Authorities arrested a man named Khayali Abderrahmane in Marrakesh on suspicion of murder. Moroccan authorities on December 18, 2018 arrested a suspect following the murder of a Danish and Norwegian hiker, who were found dead with cuts to their necks, the interior ministry said.

"Based on the information the police have about the suspects, they can not rule out the fact that they belong to a radical Islamic environment", Boubker Sabik, spokesman for the Moroccan National Council was cited by AFP as saying. "This is a case of an unusually bestial killing of two totally innocent young women".

"When it comes to the assessment of the video that purportedly shows the killings, there is still a certain amount of technical analysis and assessment to be done", Norway's National Crime Investigation Service said in a statement.

The bodies of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland were found in an isolated area of the High Atlas mountains in Morocco on Monday by other tourists. He had earlier suggested, "We do not know the circumstances, but there are many indications that the cruel killing may be a terrorist act". Local media reported that the suspects had links to the Islamic State group.

But in another picture released by police after they were detained, the three are freshly shaven and wearing plain clothes.

Imlil is a starting point for trekking and climbing tours of Mount Toubkal, the highest summit in North Africa.

Map locating the zone in the High Atlas mountains where two Scandinavian women were murdered
Three more held after two Scandinavian tourists killed in 'act of terror'

The killings have shocked Morocco, a popular tourist destination where attacks on foreigners are extremely rare.

Louisa Jespersen from Denmark and Maren Ueland from Norway were found dead Monday in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains.

"What should have been a holiday trip turned into a nightmare", Loekke Rasmussen told reporters in Denmark. In 2015, Morocco created its own version of the FBI-known as the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations-to track and counter the proliferation of domestic militant groups.

"Much now indicates that the killings could be politically motivated and thus a terrorist act", Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said at a news conference on Thursday. Other video footage shows the suspects allegedly pledging their allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Danish police officials said they have sent an officer to Morocco to assist in the investigation.

The country is generally considered safe for tourists but has battled for years with Islamic extremism for years, and thousands of Moroccans joined the Islamic State group.

The Norwegian victim's mother, Irene Ueland, told broadcaster NRK that her daughter had taken safety precautions before making the trip.


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