By Mark Ellis –
An ISIS follower charged with the brutal killing of two young female backpackers from Scandinavia told a court he now regrets beheading one of the victims.
Abdessamad Ejjoud, a 25-year-old street vendor and father of two told the court: “I beheaded one of them. I regret what happened and I am still trying to grasp it,” according to the BBC.
“We loved Islamic State and prayed to God for it. After failing to join the Islamic State, we decided to do jihad at home,” Ejjoud testified.
Along with Ejjoud, two other ISIS sympathizers are accused in the heinous killings: Younes Ouaziyad, 27, and Rachid Afatti, 33. They all could face the death penalty if found guilty.
The bodies of Louisa Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway were found in December 2018 in a popular hiking area south of Marrakesh, Morocco.
The two roommates from Norway’s Bo University were traveling alone during the Christmas break, camping near Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest mountain. They were studying to become tour guides, according to the BBC.
One of the men confessed to recording a video of the killing, which was shared online with followers of the terrorist group. The grisly footage reveals a woman yelling while the terrorist decapitates her with a knife, according to Deutsche Welle. Authorities in Norway have concluded the video is authentic.
In Denmark, 14 people were charged with sharing the footage.
Jespersen traveled to Morocco against her family’s wishes. In an interview with Danish news sources, her mother said that they pleaded with her to avoid Morocco “because of the chaotic situation.”
The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for Morocco four days before the murders, warning about “individuals inspired by extremist ideology.”
Police identified the suspects through surveillance cameras placed in local shops in the village of Imlil, near where the young women camped.
Sadly, unsuspecting tourists in the area came upon the bodies of the murder victims. “A local guide met the tourists crying and they told him what they saw.” The guide called authorities to report the crime, according to Morocco World News.
The trial opened on May 2nd and the suspects arrived in court under heavy guard.
Morocco’s anti-terror chief said the group was inspired by ISIS but had no contact with ISIS fighters in combat areas, according to AFP.
Ejjoud previously served a prison sentence in Morocco for trying to join ISIS in Syria, but was released in 2015.