Morocco nabs three more suspects in murder of Scandinavian tourists
December 20 2018 07:03 PM
A helicopter at the scene of a crime where the bodies of two Scandinavian women were found the day b
A helicopter at the scene of a crime where the bodies of two Scandinavian women were found the day b


Moroccan police Thursday arrested three more men suspected of involvement in the murder of two Scandinavian tourists earlier this week, investigators said Thursday.

The suspects were detained in the Moroccan city of Marrakech and are being questioned over the crime suspected to be an act of terrorism, the Central Bureau for Judicial Research said in a statement.

‘The bureau is investigating the likelihood of a terrorist motive behind this crime, which is backed by evidence found in the search process,’ the statement said without elaborating.

Moroccan authorities on Monday found the bodies of two female tourists - from Denmark and Norway - near the summit of Mount Toubkal in the High Atlas mountain range, with cuts to their necks.

The following day, Morocco said it had arrested a suspect.

Attacks on foreigners are rare in Morocco, a popular holiday destination.

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine al-Othmani decried Thursday the murder of the two women.

‘It is a stab in the back of Morocco and Moroccans,’ he said at a government meeting.

‘Morocco has achieved a lot of good results in fighting terrorism,’ al-Othmani added.

Earlier Thursday, the prime ministers of Denmark and Norway condemned the murder.

‘We do not know the circumstances, but a lot suggests that the brutal killing was an act of terror, and there's a video on social media,’ Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told reporters in Copenhagen.

Moroccan authorities and Danish police were trying to verify the video clip that allegedly showed the killing of one of the women, he added.

In the footage, an alleged killer is heard shouting that the act was ‘in revenge to our brothers in Hageen.’  Hageen is a town in eastern Syria where a US-led coalition carries out airstrikes against Islamic State militants.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Morocco attack.

‘What was intended as a holiday trip turned into a nightmare. Two innocent people were brutally murdered,’ Rasmussen said.

‘We all react with horror, disgust and deep sorrow,’ he added.

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in Oslo that it was ‘a brutal and senseless attack that we condemn.’  The Norwegian national, Maren Ueland, was aged 28. She came from the small community of Bryne in south-western Norway, while 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen was from Jutland, western Denmark.

Both women were students at the University of South-Eastern Norway where they were studying outdoor leadership, culture and ecophilosophy.

Authorities and police in both Denmark and Norway were in close contact with Moroccan counterparts, both prime ministers said.

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