Morocco is very shocked by the death of two tourists. The authorities speak of an “exceptionally beastly murder” and promise all openness in the investigation of the first act of terrorism in the ‘safe’ country for years.
Bit by bit the news came out about the horrible murder of the two Scandinavian girls who were found dead in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the women from Norway and Denmark were victims of a terrorist attack. Their throats were cut, one of them was beheaded. The murder of one of the women was filmed, “enemies of Allah” says a perpetrator repeatedly. Four suspects, who pose in an authentic video with the flag of Islamic State and pledge allegiance to leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, have been arrested. The men have ties with IS, confirm the Moroccan authorities.
According to Abdellah Rami, a Moroccan security expert, this would be the first terrorist attack outside a big city. The last major attack in Morocco was in 2011, at a café in Marrakesh. Then 17 people died. “It is clear what the ideology behind this is. Was it a dormant cell or did they organize it independently?” Rami asks out loud in The New York Times.
For the Moroccan government, the attack is particularly painful. She leads the way in the fight against Islamic terror. There is intensive cooperation with Western security services, which would have prevented the necessary attacks in Western Europe. The security services are only too happy to create more than 300 conspiracies and 167 terrorist cells that they have rolled up since 2002. Nevertheless, Morocco has around 1,700 Syrian visitors. But the country itself continued to escape terror.
Morocco is now very shocked. To the victims, the grief of the bereaved and the cruelty of their death, terror in their country. But also, for the possible local consequences. According to terror expert Rami, the terrorists also hit a vulnerable and difficult to protect sector of the Moroccan economy: tourism. Several countries have now tightened their travel advice to the country.
Tourism is the main source of income for Morocco after agriculture. The number of tourists has been growing for years, last year more than 11 million tourists visited the North African country. And in recent years Morocco has attracted additional tourists, after attacks in other, competitive, travel destinations such as Tunisia and Turkey.
The conscious area where the women were killed is one of the tourist attractions. In Imlil, therefore, there is defeat after the double murder. “Our region is safe, those who have done this do not come from here,” said a local innkeeper. The boss of a restaurant had still served the women a few days before they were killed.
“They were having fun. They said they wanted to climb the Toubkal, the highest mountain in the Atlas Mountains. The police have requested our camera images. We do not understand how someone can be capable of such a thing. Such a terrible thing has never happened here before.”