December 20, 2018 / 9:05 AM / 4 months ago

Denmark says Islamic State suspected in killing of Danish, Norwegian women in Morocco

FILE PHOTO: The sun illuminates the Toubkal region near Imlil October 31, 2009. Toubkal peak, the highest point in North Africa at 4,167m (13,671 feet), is visited by thousands of mountaineers throughout the year. Picture taken October 31, 2009. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish intelligence said on Thursday that Islamic State may be responsible for killing two women, one from Norway and the other from Denmark, while they were camping in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

The bodies of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, were found on Monday in an isolated area near Imlil, on the way to Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak and a popular hiking destination.

“Much now indicates that the killings could be politically motivated and thus a terrorist act,” Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said at a news conference on Thursday.

Morocco’s general prosecutor said on Wednesday that a suspect arrested in main tourist hub Marrakech was a member of a militant group, but did not name the organisation.

He also said authorities were investigating a video tape shared on social media purporting to show the killing of one of the tourists. Police in Morocco are seeking three other suspects.

“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.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; additional reporting by Emil Gjerding Nielson in Copenhagen; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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