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Two Scandinavian backpackers hacked to death in Morocco, mother spammed with gruesome images

Two Scandinavian backpackers hacked to death in Morocco, mother spammed with gruesome images
Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway were both stabbed to death and one was beheaded on camera. Footage of the appalling attack has been posted to one of their mother’s Facebook.

Friends and family have urged people not to view the video which has been shared across social media. The women’s bodies were discovered by a group of French hikers on Monday and flown to Copenhagen Friday.

“It was horrible. They were broken,” one of the French hikers said. “We warned everyone we saw in Imlil not to go up there. I did not want more to see what we had seen...It was a big shock, we’re thinking about it all day. It makes you think about what’s important in life.”

Ueland's mother's Facebook page has been spammed with hundreds of images depicting her daughter's slit throat and Jespersen's severed head.

However, the vast majority of comments expressed condolences, many of which are from people claiming to be Moroccans and decrying the attacks.

Video of the suspects pledging allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has been authenticated by investigators, adding further evidence that this was indeed an act of terrorism.

“The video showing the arrested individuals … pledging allegiance to Daesh was recorded last week before the execution of the criminal acts we are investigating,” the prosecutor in Rabat said.

So far, Moroccan police have arrested four suspects in connection with the case.

Three of them were arrested as they were boarding a bus from Marrakech to Agadir and were found with three long machete-like knives, a shorter blade and a slingshot. Surveillance footage shows the suspects setting up a tent a few hundred yards from the women. Morocco's general prosecutor said one of the suspects is a member of a militant group but declined to give any name.

Two Scandinavian backpackers hacked to death in Morocco, mother spammed with gruesome images

“[This is] revenge for our brothers in Hajin,” one of the suspects says in French in the video, referring to the last IS stronghold in Syria which fell recently.

Ueland's mother told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that before setting off on the month-long holiday, her daughter’s “first priority was safety. The girls had taken all the precautionary measures before embarking on this trip.”

Jespersen’s ex-boyfriend made a heartfelt plea for calm and peace as the women’s family and friends continue to grieve.

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“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. You travelled 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,” ex-boyfriend Glen Martin wrote.

In a statement on the killings, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he was filled with “anger and disgust” at “these barbaric and bestial actions,” adding that “Much indicates that the killing can be politically motivated and thus a terrorist act.”  

“It shows that there are still dark forces, their violence will fight us and the way we live. It makes me angry but also stubborn that we can never give in and give up.”

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