Thirteen suspects have been arrested in connection with the beheading deaths of two tourists in Morocco, the state-controlled 2M news agency reported.
Four are suspected of killing 28-year-old Maren Ueland of Norway and 24-year-old Louisa Jespersen of Denmark. Of those four, one had previously served a two-year sentence in an extremism-related case, Boubker Sabik, a Moroccan national security spokesman, told 2M.
Nine others were arrested in different cities for their alleged connection to the four murder suspects, 2M reported.
During the raids, authorities found “suspicious substances that could potentially be used in making explosives,” 2M said.
The bodies of Ueland and Jespersen were found Monday in the High Atlas mountain range.
Both women had been spotted with three men in their hotel in Marrakesh before heading to the Atlas Mountains to hike. They were found in Imlil, an unguarded and remote area on the mountain range.
The state-run Maghreb Arab Press reported that the pair had been killed with a “melee weapon.”
A video purporting to show the decapitations is being analyzed by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, the agency told CNN. The video’s authenticity has not been verified.
The Moroccan government has called the killings a “terrorist and criminal act,” and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the killings seemed to be “politically motivated and thus a terrorist act.”
The four suspects accused of direct involvement in the women’s deaths appear in a video pledging allegiance to ISIS, but they do not reference the killings.