Police arrest three more suspects in killing of Danish, Norwegian women

Three more suspects have been arrested in the killing of two Scandinavian tourists in Morocco, which prosecutors said could be terrorism related.

The Rabat public prosecutor's office said in a statement the only captured suspect has affiliations to an unnamed terrorist group, which local media identified as Islamic State.

A video purportedly showing the beheading of one of the victims has been authenticated by Danish intelligence, who confirmed Wednesday that the killings can be connected to ISIS.

In Denmark, police and the intelligence service PET said they were analysing the video in which a man is heard railing against the "enemies of Allah".

A video apparently showing the beheading of one of the women was shared on social media by supporters of so-called Islamic State, and Norwegian authorities said on Friday that while it still had to be analysed further, it seemed genuine.

Police in Morocco also published a photograph that, according to The Sun, shows items in the men's possession at the time of their arrest. "So we can not at this time say anything about the authenticity of the video".

"Two innocent people were brutally killed, and we react with dismay, disgust and deep sorrow", said the Danish Prime Minister at a press conference on Thursday in Copenhagen.

"Radical Islam is not ruled out due to the profile of the suspect arrested and of the three men wanted" after the women's bodies were found Monday in the High Atlas Mountains, the source said, asking not to be named.

Horrific video footage has emerged on social media, appearing to depict the killings of two Scandinavian university students, one of whom is shown being decapitated, while they were hiking in Morocco's Atlas Mountains. The suspects' names are Abdessamad Ejjoud, Younes Ouaziad, Rachid El Afati, and Khayali Abderrahmane, ABC News reports, with Abderrahmane alleged to be the main suspect with ties to the Islamic State.

Before leaving, Jespersen, from Denmark, had posted on Facebook about her upcoming trip.

Other video footage shows the suspects allegedly pledging their allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The other three were arrested on Thursday, also in Marrakech.

In Norway, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the murders were "a brutal and senseless attack that we condemn".

Jespersen and Ueland were killed on the way to Toubkal, North Africa's highest peak and a popular hiking destination.

The two university friends had been on a month-long backpacking trek through the North African nation when they were slaughtered in their tents.

The heads of government of Denmark and Norway were dismayed.

Morocco has been spared militant attacks since 2011, when a bomb attack on a cafe in Marrakesh's famed Jamaa El Fna Square killed 17 people, a lot of them European tourists.

Tourism accounts for 10% of Morocco's national income and the country has generally been safe from jihadist attacks since a 2011 bombing in Marrakesh killed 17 people, a lot of them European tourists.

An anti-terrorism rally is planned for Morocco's capital Saturday.

  • Rogelio Becker