Suspected ISIS terrorists branded two Scandinavian women the ‘enemies of God’ as they filmed themselves decapitating one of the tourists in Morocco.
They can also be heard shouting ‘it’s Allah’s will’ in a chilling video showing a woman being butchered.
Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, were found dead near the village of Imlil in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains on Monday.
A video showing the murder of one of the women has been recognised as genuine, Danish intelligence service said today adding that the killings can be connected to ISIS.
There are claims that the words ‘this is for Syria’ were used in the gruesome clip, in an apparent reference to Western bombing missions in the war-torn country.
It comes as a picture emerged showing the knives the suspected killers wielded.
Earlier today, three fugitive suspects were arrested at a Marrakesh bus station over the killings – a day after another man was held, suspected of belonging to an Islamic extremist group.
Ms Ueland and Ms Vesterager Jespersen, who were studying to be outdoor guides at a Norwegian university, were spotted with three men in Marrakesh before heading to the Atlas mountains to hike.
ISIS terrorists are suspected of killing two Scandinavian women – Maren Ueland and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen – in Morocco. It comes as police announced three suspects had been arrested on a bus in Marrakesh (pictured)
Three fugitive suspects have been arrested in Marrakesh after an intensive manhunt. Pictured is one of the four men held over the murders
A picture has emerged showing the knives the suspected killers wielded
Maren Ueland (right), 28, from Norway, and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen (left), 24, from Denmark, were found dead near the village of Imlil in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains on Monday
Today’s three arrests were made at a bus station in Marrakesh after a trader alerted police when he saw the knives they were carrying as they tried to buy water. Investigators are pictured next to the bus where the men were arrested
All four suspects are reportedly between the ages of 25 and 33.
Three have been identified by their initials and two of them have been pictured wearing skullcaps and heavy beards.
‘RA’, from the small village of Douar el Caïd, outside Marrakesh, was born in 1985 and works as a salesman, officials said.
The second suspect, ‘AE’, a carpenter born in 1991, lives in the Azzouzia district of Marrakesh.
The third, ‘OA’, born in 1993, lives in the Derb Zeroual neighbourhood of Marrakesh. No employment details were given.
Today’s three arrests were made at a bus station in Marrakesh after a trader alerted police when he saw the knives they were carrying as they tried to buy water.
Police boarded the bus and seized four knives, including blades of machete size, as the bus was leaving to travel to the southern seaside town of Agadir.
The ticket inspector on the bus, Abdulrahim, said: ‘We came from Azilal and stopped in Marrakesh before continuing to Agadir.
‘We picked up three people. They bought their tickets. When the bus left the station, a policeman asked me to close the door of the bus, because we normally leave it open for other people to jump on.
‘Then he told me to stop the bus in front of the Ryad Mogador hotel. Then the police got on the bus and they went to check the guys and they found four big knives.’
The driver added: ‘Passengers on the bus were very afraid because the police surrounded the bus and the area around it.’
Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen confirmed the victims’ identities as Louisa Vesterager Jespersen (pictured), of Denmark, and Maren Ueland, from Norway
Police launched an intensive manhunt after Maren Ueland and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen were found dead. Local media earlier released these images of three suspects
The four suspects are all thought to be from the Marrakesh area. Police have not ruled out a terror link to the murders
Ms Vesterager Jespersen, left, and Ms Ueland, right were both named in Scandinavian media on Monday as the two women found murdered in Morocco
‘YOU WERE THAT SINGLE CANDLE’: DANISH VICTIM’S EX-BOYFRIEND’S EMOTIONAL LETTER TO HER
Ms Vesterager Jespersen’s former partner Glen Martin shared an emotional tribute to her on Facebook in a public post.
Read the translation in full below.
‘Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle’
You were that single candle Louisa.
I’ve been very unsure of whether I wanted to post anything here. As soon as I press the button, I confirm to myself that this has really happened. In the last few nights, I’ve gone to bed and hoped that I wake up the morning after and everything was just a very bad dream. But here’s my letter to Louisa Vesterager Jespersen.
Dear Amazing Lulu,
Funny (at least you tried your best to be), full of energy, bundle of joy, inclusive, caring and thoughtful. These were just a few of your many amazing qualities. You were also known to be distracted, slow and clumsy. These qualities that made so many of us to scratch our head, but it was just these that made you unique and loved. You were so curious and everything fascinated you.
Ms Vesterager Jespersen’s former partner Glen Martin shared an emotional tribute to her on Facebook in a public post. They are pictured together in a Facebook photo
I can’t even count how many times we were on a trip together and I turned around and you had disappeared, only to find you way behind me because you had to look closer to a beautiful flower, a view or something that the average person wouldn’t even notice. You saw beauty in every smallest detail.
Louisa, I was so lucky to be your boyfriend for two years until this summer. We split up as best friends with tears in our eyes because we had realised that we didn’t love each other anymore. We both were very sorry, but agreed that it was the way it was. It breaks my heart that there is someone who would hurt you, you always saw the very best in people and you brought out the best in the people around you. (unless we were standing in the hallway and were late for something important). Your life may not have been long, but it was rich in experiences. If you wanted something, it was very difficult to stop you. You traveled around the world just as you would, you would not be limited by fear of all the dangers of the world. You did what you wanted and you were tough.
You will live on in the heart of all the people you have met through the journey of your life. I carry you with me the rest of the way and take you up on the mountains and down the rivers you never had the opportunity to experience. You have a special place in my heart and it is reserved for you the rest of my hopefully long life. To make room for you in my heart, I also had to give you a part of mine. So a part of me died Monday morning, but it also means that part of me is with you wherever you are now. No matter how lonely you are, I’ll be there with your side and you with mine. I wish you good luck in your journey further wherever it takes you.
I don’t say goodbye, but at reunion my friend ❤
The ex boyfriend of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen paid a heartfelt tribute to her saying she was a ‘beautiful human being’
I want to finish off with a request to us left behind. Love will bring us through this, not hate, hate gives us nothing but anger. Love Louisa and her memory, love yourself and love the people around you.
I want everybody that reads this post to call or text someone close to you and tell them how much they mean for you. I would give anything to tell Louisa one last time what a beautiful human being she was and how much she meant to me.
I would also like for you who’s reading this to leave a comment and in that comment your best memory with Louisa, text, photo or video. I would really appreciate that and I’m sure so many others will too! Let us show everyone this beautiful human being
‘What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.’
Meanwhile, preliminary investigations of a video shared on social media purporting to show the killing of one of the tourists had found that it was shot in a different place from where the bodies were found, a police source told Reuters.
‘The video and preliminary investigation according to the Moroccan authorities indicate that the killings may be related to the terrorist organisation Islamic State,’ the Danish intelligence service said in a statement.
‘This is a case of an unusually bestial killing of two totally innocent young women,’ it said.
This morning, Denmark’s prime minister said the killings can be considered ‘politically motivated and thus an act of terror’. Lars Loekke Rasmussen said that ‘there are still dark forces that want to fight our values’ and ‘we must not give in.’
Witnesses said that three men from Marrakesh were seen camping close to the women, and local media had earlier reported that sexual assault may have been the motive for the crime.
They were filmed fleeing the scene between 2am and 3am on Monday, on a camera belonging to another camper.
On Wednesday, police arrested a man from the city whose identity card was found at the murder scene.
Police are not thought to be seeking any other suspects in connection with the crime.
Officers have announced their intention to take the suspects to the murder scene to ask them how they committed the murder, but have not yet scheduled a time for it.
A French couple roday have described the horrific moment they found the two women’s bodies.
Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, pictured, and Ms Ueland, 28, were studying ‘outdoor activities and cultural guidance’ at a college in Norway
The video shows Ms Vesterager Jespersen hiking through snowy mountains as she speaks about her ambitions for the future
‘My partner and I are on vacation and were going on a small hike. We saw a tent that was open. And we saw the two girls. It was horrible. They were corrupted,’ the French woman, who refused to be named, told VG.
‘Both of them lay outside the tent. The tent was open,’ she said, adding that they took a photo to show police where they found them.
‘We will think about this for the rest of our lives. We never saw the men, because we first came to the area in the morning. We were lucky, said the French woman, who is flying home with her partner today.
Earlier, a man who also saw the bodies said one of the victims had been decapitated.
The local resident, who asked not to be named for his own safety, said: ‘I saw the two bodies before the police arrived. One was outside the tent and the other inside. The one outside had been beheaded.’
Forensic markers can be seen on the ground as police in Morocco investigate the killing of the two young women at the site of their tent
Forensics officers investigate a tent where the two Scandinavian women were discovered with their throats cut on Monday in the foothills of Mount Toubkal; a source said one was discovered outside the tent and another was inside
An employee of the Marrakesh hotel where two women stayed before their murder told MailOnline that three Moroccan men were waiting for the two women before they set off for the mountains.
‘They came back at five in the afternoon to collect their luggage. They went and changed into outdoors clothes for the mountains,’ the employer said.
‘While they were packing, three other guys were waiting for them outside the hotel. They were Moroccans.
‘They were young and they seemed clean-cut. They didn’t seem like they were criminals. They were young, not more than 27 or 28 years old, and they seemed like nice guys, not at all suspicious.
‘I think they met with the girls in the square and started speaking in English, and that’s how they met. They were outside the hotel and didn’t come in.
‘Once they had changed, the girls packed their backpacks and left with the guys.
‘They left the hotel and we didn’t hear about them again until the 17th, when we heard that they had been murdered.’
Locals near the murder scene said three men seen pitching a tent nearby were not known in the area.
A 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.’
In a video Ms Vesterager Jespersen says: ‘I’m trying to follow my dream to go into the Arctic’
Ms Jespersen (left and right) posted pictures of her hiking, kayaking and skiing on her social media accounts
As well as a video showing her trekking through snow covered hills, Ms Jespersen is also seen kayaking in fast running waters and rowing across a lake
In the video Ms Vesterager Jespersen can be seen laughing as she takes a sip from a coconut drink in an exotic country
Heartbreaking: Maren Ueland’s mother, Irene, paid tribute to her daughter by sharing a picture on Facebook of her daughter and a huge dog
A picture taken on Thursday shows the tourist village of Imlil in the High Atlas range, which is used as a pit stop for trekkers
Both women had both been studying ‘outdoor activities and cultural guidance’ at a Norwegian college in the village of Bo
Both women’s bodies were found in an isolated mountainous area six miles (ten kilometres) from the tourist village of Imlil
Both women’s bodies were found in an isolated mountainous area six miles (ten kilometres) from the tourist village of Imlil.
Authorities in Denmark and Norway have warned their citizens since the killings from hiking alone without local guides in Morocco.
Danish police said on Wednesday they had sent an officer to Morocco to assist in the investigation.
Ms Ueland’s mother, Irene, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK: ‘Her priority was safety. The girls had taken all precautionary measures before embarking on this trip.’
She said they had been studying together at the University of South-Eastern Norway and had gone backpacking for a month-long Christmas holiday on December 9.
Ms Jespersen’s mother Helle Jesperse told BT the family was ‘completely broken’, after being told the news of her daughter’s death just before Christmas.
A police vehicle is seen on a inside the tourist village of Imlil in the High Atlas range on Thursday
A helicopter at the crime scene where the bodies of Ms Jespersen and Ms Ueland were discovered in Imlil in the High Atlas range in Morocco
A police truck on the outskirts of Imlil on Thursday as investigators continue to gather evidence into the killings
On November 21, Ms Jespersen wrote of her trip on Facebook: ‘Dear friends, im going to Morocco in december. Any of you guys whos around by then or any mountain friends who knows something about Mount Toubkal? [sic]’
She had also posted pictures from previous trips in which he is hiking in mountains as well as skiing and kayaking.
Imlil is as a starting point for trekking and climbing tours of Mount Toubkal, the highest summit in North Africa.
Hossein, a local guide in the area, said: ‘It’s very bad for the region. There will undoubtedly be cancellations.’
Tourism is a cornerstone of Morocco’s economy and the kingdom’s second-largest employer, after agriculture.
The sector accounts for ten per cent of national income and is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency.
Morocco is generally considered safe for tourists but has battled with Islamic extremism for years, and more than a thousand Moroccans are believed to have joined ISIS.
An anti-terrorism rally is planned for Morocco’s capital on Saturday.
Pictured is the crime scene where the bodies of the two women were found on Monday
Ms Jespersen (above) and her friend were both found dead in the village of Imlil in Morocco
People gathered at the scene where Louisa Jespersen and Maren Ueland were found on Monday