Three Moroccan suspects have confessed killing the two Scandinavian women who were backpacking in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco in December 2018.
They said they had committed their act after trying in vain to join the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
“We love the Islamic state and we pray to God for them,” said Abdessamad E. at the trial yesterday in Salé, near Rabat.
The 25-year-old main suspect in the trial for the horror ordeal of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen (24) from Denmark and Maren Ueland (28) from Norway, acknowledged that he had set it all in motion in the name of a private jihad.
In total, 24 suspects are on trial in Salé, most of them followers.
The four main suspects, besides Abdessamad E., are Younes O. (27), Rachid A. (33) and Abderrahim K. (33), all from the Marrakech area, had vowed to IS in a video.
The latter dropped out the moment the three others started to act.
They wanted to kill “foreigners” on behalf of the terror group.
The IS video was distributed three days before they struck.
The bodies of the Scandinavian women were found on December 17 last year in the village of Imlil, a popular hiking destination in the Atlas Mountains near Marrakech.
Two of the three confessed at the trial that they beheaded their two victims, the third suspect filmed that.
“I beheaded one, I am sorry,” said Younes O. who had assumed the name “Abou Moussab” for the jihad.
“I killed one, Youness O. the other and Rachid filmed,” Abdessamad E. told the judge.
He himself shared the horror video with other IS sympathizers.
Leader E., who before he radicalized had all kinds of jobs and sold squeezed oranges next to a mosque and allegedly had been driven there, told the court how he had tried in vain to leave Morocco to travel to the IS caliphate and to to join the terror movement.
E. had applied to a Quranic school where he soon considered killing the director because he had condemned the violence of IS.
Because the Moroccan authorities had seized his passport, E. decided to set up a jihad in his own country.
“I decided to do it here in Morocco and to attack foreigners.
We wanted to attack Christians because they kill Muslims there and destroy mosques and hospitals.
We had tried to make a bomb but it didn’t work,” he said.
Killing the women was “revenge for what was done to the brothers in Syria.”
The murders caused great indignation in Morocco, where people were called on the street for the death penalty against the perpetrators.
According to the authorities, the suspects are so-called “lone wolves”, who were otherwise not in contact with a terror group, but acted on their own.
Yet another 21 others are on trial in the murder case, who were in contact with the three main suspects in various ways.
The Spanish-Swiss accomplice Kevin Z. was also facing a judge yesterday.
His mother was present at the trial and told journalists that her son “had nothing to do with terrorists and that most of the suspects said they did not know him.”
Yet Kevin Z. was in contact with one of the main suspects twice.
According to Z.’s lawyer, he had played paintball with two suspects.
The main suspects risk the death penalty, although its execution has not occurred since 1993.
The process will be continued on 13 June.