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By Ahmed Eljechtimi
RABAT (-) – Three Moroccan males admitted on Thursday to the killing of two Scandinavian backpackers in a grisly homicide final December, saying that they had dedicated the crime after trying and failing to affix the Islamic State.
The our bodies of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway had been discovered on Dec. 17 close to the village of Imlil, a mountaineering vacation spot within the Atlas Mountains close to Marrakech.
The three males pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a video made three days earlier than the homicide. Authorities described them after they had been arrested as “lone wolves” who had not coordinated the killings with Islamic State.
However, authorities have arrested an additional 21 individuals who they are saying have hyperlinks to the three and face fees together with forming a legal gang to commit terrorist acts, encouraging terrorism, and undermining public order.
In a court docket listening to in Sale close to Rabat, Abdessamad Ejjoud and Youness Ouziyad admitted to attacking and decapitating the 2 girls, who had been staying in a single day in a tent within the Atlas mountains. A 3rd suspect, Rachid Afatti, stated he filmed the slaughter. Ejjoud stated the video of the homicide was shared with different Islamic State sympathizers.
“After failing to affix the Islamic State, we determined to do Jihad at dwelling,” stated Ejjoud, a 33-year-old carpenter from Marrakech and father of two, who had beforehand spent two years in jail on terrorism-related fees.
“I remorse what occurred and I’m nonetheless making an attempt to know it,” he stated.
The three had been arrested at a bus station in Marrakech 4 days after the homicide.
They stated they had been heading south in direction of the town of Laayoune however the prosecutor stated they had been trying to affix Jihadi teams within the Sahel through the Algerian border.
The lawyer representing the household of Vesterager Jespersen stated the state ought to pay compensation to her household. Some of these arrested had beforehand been jailed on terrorism fees or had been recognized to have attended faculties preaching radical concepts, the lawyer argued. The household of Ueland didn’t rent a lawyer.
State lawyer Abdellatif Ouahbi referred to as the crime “an remoted regrettable act” and stated in an announcement to – that Morocco was “a mannequin in counter-terrorism.”
Some 1,700 Moroccans have joined the Islamic State militant group within the Middle East, in keeping with Moroccan officers.
Compared with different international locations in North Africa, Morocco – a well-liked journey vacation spot for Europeans – has been largely insulated from militant assaults. The most up-to-date came about in April 2011, when 17 individuals had been killed within the bombing of a restaurant in Marrakech.
In 2017 and 2018, Moroccan authorities stated they dismantled 20 militant cells planning assaults within the nation.
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