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Morocco: Terrorist ties to Scandinavian hiker slaying

RABAT, Morocco – The lone suspect arrested in the killing of two Scandinavian tourists is connected to a terrorist group, and three other suspects are on the run, Moroccan prosecutors and a security official said Wednesday.

State television 2M reported on its website that authorities consider the two women’s slayings a terrorist act. Local media reported that the suspects had links to the Islamic State group.

The killing has shocked Morocco, a popular tourist destination where such attacks on foreigners are extremely rare. The bodies of the women, one Danish and one Norwegian, were found Monday in the Atlas Mountains, a destination prized by hikers.

The Rabat public prosecutor’s office said in a statement Wednesday that the only captured suspect has affiliations to a terrorist group, without naming the group.

The suspect was arrested in Marrakech on Tuesday. Three other suspects have been identified and but are still on the run, a security official told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to be publicly named.

Broadcaster 2M released photos and videos Wednesday of forensic investigators and others working around the women’s brightly colored tent on a rocky hillside. The broadcaster said the tent held food and belongings for three people, including an ID card.

The bodies were found in a remote mountainous region, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the village of Imlil — often the starting point for treks to Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak.

Moroccan media outlets reported that investigators have video surveillance footage showing three suspects putting up a tent near the victims’ tent and leaving the area after the slaying.

Authorities in Denmark and Norway have warned their citizens from hiking without local guides in Morocco.

Danish police officials said Wednesday they sent an officer to Morocco to assist in the investigation.

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