Morocco backpackers murders are now suspected ‘terrorist executions’ – as cops probe gruesome beheading video

Morocco backpackers murders are now suspected ‘terrorist executions’ – as cops probe gruesome beheading video

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, were brutally knifed and beheaded on camera while camping in Morocco.

They were discovered stabbed in the neck by other tourists, who alerted police, according to national media. Hiking in the area was temporarily suspended.

The Rabat public prosecutor's office said in a statement yesterday that the only captured suspect has affiliations to a terrorist group. They have not yet specified what that group is.

Mobile phone video purporting to show the horrendous killings circulated on social media sparking outrage in Morocco.

The sick footage – seen by The Sun Online – shows a woman screaming while a man cuts her neck with what appears to be a kitchen knife.

 

Locals said one of the victims was found dead inside her tent while another was found outside.

One had been decapitated, and the other had a serious throat wound.

A man known to local police to be connected to a terrorist group has been arrested while cops are now hunting three other suspects on the run, a security official has revealed.

State television 2M reported on its website that authorities consider the two women's slayings a terrorist act. Local media reported that the suspects had links to the Islamic State group.

All of the suspects said to live in and around Marrakesh or the city of Safi.

Hotel workers in the Moroccan capital have claimed Maren and Louisa were staying with three other girls and were spotted with local men before they set off on their mountain trek.

While locals claim that three “homeless” men were spotted camping near the two women.

One hotelier said: “Three homeless men came from Marrakesh and pitched a tent right next to the girls’ tent. The men were not from round here.”

Cops have released pictures of the three of the four suspects linked to the murder.


Earlier reports claimed police were probing a possible sexual motive for the crime – having ruled out robbery because none of the victims' belongings were missing.

Prosecutors said the man in custody belongs to a militant group, but did not give further details.

It’s thought three men from nearby Marrakesh may have stalked the pair before attacking them while they slept on Monday.

CCTV reportedly shows them approaching the campsite where they pitched a camp 600 yards from the women.



They allegedly fled leaving behind their tent – where cops found the forgotten ID of one of the arrested men.

It led officers to him and two suspected accomplices, who are being hunted along with a fourth man.

A source told Morocco World News: “The suspects were camping in the same area that the murder took place.

"Witnesses saw the group at night as they were heading to the camp area.”



Maren's mum told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that her daughter was a "warm and engaged".

She said: "Her first priority was safety. The girls had taken all the precautionary measures before embarking on this trip."

Both were students of "outdoor activities and cultural guidance" at the University of Southeastern Norway.

They attended a campus in Boe, southern Norway and west of Oslo.

On its home page the university acknowledged their deaths, writing: "What we know is that they were on a month-long, private holiday in Morocco. Our thoughts go to the families."

The friends had reportedly set up a camp near Imlil, a popular tourist destination at the foot of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.

Norwegian Foreign Minister press officer Ane Lunde told national broadcaster NRK: "We are aware that a Norwegian citizen is reported dead in Morocco.

“We are now working through our Embassy in Rabat to map the situation and find out what has happened.

"In doing this, we are upholding contact with Moroccan authorities."



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