- Four men suspected of killing two Scandinavian backpackers pledged their loyalty to ISIS the week before, a Moroccan prosecutor said.
- Louisa Jespersen from Denmark and Maren Ueland from Norway were found dead in the Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains on Tuesday.
- Video reviewed by INSIDER, and verified by Danish intelligence, shows that Jespersen was beheaded. Ueland also had wounds to her neck.
- A senior Moroccan prosecutor said the four men pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a video posted to social media.
Four men suspected of killing two Scandinavian hikers in Morocco on Tuesday pledged their allegiance to ISIS the week before, Morocco’s general prosecutor said.
The four men threatened to carry out attacks and swore loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a video posted to social media, Reuters quoted the prosecutor as saying on Thursday.
The video was made in the week before Louisa Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, were found dead in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, the prosecutor said.
Four men have been arrested in total. The first was arrested in the popular tourist destination of Marrakech on Tuesday.
The other three were arrested on Thursday, also in Marrakech. None has been named.
Jespersen was beheaded, according to video reviewed by INSIDER which was later verified by Danish intelligence. Officials in Denmark have also suggested a link between the killing and ISIS.
BBC Monitoring reported on Thursday that one man in the video, speaking Arabic, said: “This is in revenge for our brothers in Hajin.” Hajin is a town in Syria which ISIS recently lost control of.
The women were found dead in their tent 6 miles outside the village of Imlil in the High Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Officials have said Ueland also had “evidence of violence” on her neck.
The girls, students at the University of South-Eastern Norway, were on a one month hiking trip across Morocco. They were found on a trail which passed below North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal.
ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the backpackers’ deaths by its usual channels.
But the BBC reported that known ISIS sympathizers on the messaging app Telegram shared a post on Wednesday saying: “The perpetrators say they did it for Muslims in Hajin who are being bombed by the [anti-IS] international coalition, of which Denmark and Norway are members.”
The Danish prime minister’s office tweeted a statement from Lars Løkke Rasmussen on Thursday, which said the killings were “politically motivated and thus an act of terror.”