7 new suspects brought before Morocco judge in slain hikers case

Flowers, candles and photos in memory of Louisa and Maren are left at the Town Hall Square in Copenhagen, on December 28, 2018. (Norway OUT /AFP)
Updated 03 January 2019
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7 new suspects brought before Morocco judge in slain hikers case

  • Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland were found dead at an isolated hiking spot south of Marrakesh on December 17
  • The two women were beheaded, authorities have said.

RABAT: A Morocco prosecutor on Thursday brought seven new suspects including a Spanish-Swiss man before a Rabat anti-terror judge in connection with the murder of two Scandinavian women in the Atlas Mountains.
The prosecution asked that the suspects be investigated for “forming a gang to prepare and carry out terrorist acts, premeditated assistance to perpetrators of terrorist acts and training people to join a terrorist organization,” Rabat’s attorney general said.
The prosecutor called on the judge to place the suspects in pre-trial detention.
Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland were found dead at an isolated hiking spot south of Marrakesh on December 17.
The two women were beheaded, authorities have said.
Fifteen people, including the four main suspects, were brought before the judge on Sunday over their alleged links to the double homicide, labelled a “terrorist” act by Rabat.
The Spanish-Swiss man in Thursday’s group had been living in Morocco and was detained in Marrakesh over alleged links to some of the suspects.
He subscribed to “extremist ideology,” according to Morocco’s central office for judicial investigations.
The four main suspects were also arrested in Marrakesh and belonged to a cell inspired by Daesh ideology, Morocco’s counter-terror chief Abdelhak Khiam told AFP.
None of the four had contact with Daesh members in Syria or Iraq, he said.
The head of the suspected cell is 25-year-old street vendor Abdessamad Ejjoud, according to investigators.
He was identified in a video filmed a week before the double-murder, in which the four main suspects pledged allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, according to authorities.
The killings have shaken Norway, Denmark and Morocco. Another video circulated on social networks allegedly showed the murder of one of the tourists.
Morocco, which relies heavily on tourism income, suffered an extremist attack in 2011, when a bomb blast at a cafe in Marrakesh’s famed Jamaa El Fna Square killed 17 people, mostly European tourists.
An attack in the North African state’s financial capital Casablanca killed 33 people in 2003.


Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2019
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Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

  • Some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security, Abdollahian says

BEIRUT: “Lebanon must be kept out of all regional crises,” said Iran’s Shoura Council assistant speaker for international affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during a surprise visit to Beirut on Wednesday.

“We say at the top of our voice that Iran and its allies will not allow the Zionist entity and the US to damage the region’s security.”

Following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Abdollahian said that Tehran “is convinced that the security of Lebanon is the security of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Abdollahian added that “some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security.”

He described his talks with Berri as “good and constructive.”

“We will not allow Israel, US to interfere with regional security.”

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Shoura Council official

Abdollahian said: “We have come today to reaffirm that Iran fully supports the people, army, resistance and government of Lebanon, and we look forward to developing relations between our two countries until they reach the highest levels.”

He said he believes that the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are for “domestic consumption,” accusing him of “making some moves in the region that are not in his favor.”

Netanyahu responded to a message from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday by threatening Hezbollah during Israel’s Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said: “Let me be clear that if Hezbollah dares to commit an act of stupidity and attack Israel, we will deal a crushing military blow on Lebanon. But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans. It would be enough to recall that, for years, Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, and we demolished them within a few days.”