Arrests made after tourists murdered in Morocco
By Nada Altaher and Rob Picheta, CNN
Three suspects have been arrested and officials said a terrorist motive is being investigated after two Scandinavian tourists were found murdered and beheaded in the mountains of Morocco.
The bodies of two women — Danish Louisa Jespersen, 24, and Norwegian Maren Ueland, 28 — were discovered in the High Atlas mountain range on Monday.
Both had been spotted with three men in their hotel in Marrakesh before heading to the Atlas mountains to hike. They were found in Imlil, an unguarded and remote area on the mountain range.
A video purporting to show the murder, which has been uploaded to social media, is being analyzed by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, the agency confirmed to CNN. They have not verified the video’s authenticity.
“Much indicates that the killing can be politically motivated and thus a terrorist act,” Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said in a statement. “It fills me with anger and disgust, and I take the sharpest distance from these barbaric and bestial actions.”
The three alleged perpetrators were taken into custody on Thursday morning in Marrakesh. The men are shepherds and are aged between 25 and 33, according to Moroccan state broadcaster 2M, and one is believed to have links to an extremist group.
The Moroccan Press Agency previously reported that the pair had been killed with a “melee weapon.”
A first suspect was arrested on Tuesday, the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigation confirmed. “An investigation into the possibility of a motive of terrorism in the crime is also underway,” the bureau said in a statement.
Correction: In a previous version of this story, we misidentified the Moroccan capital. The capital of Morocco is Rabat.