A video has since emerged online with the suspected killers pledging allegiance to ISIS.
The 28-year-old Norwegian, Ueland, who was brutally killed in the Atlas mountains in Morocco, shared a post of a video against “Islamophobia” on the website Morocco World News.
The outlet has published a print-screen of her Facebook page – now deleted – showing the Norwegian sharing the clip titled “Never judge people by their appearance”.
It shows a European mother and daughter suspiciously looking at a bearded man with a sports bag. The woman freezes when several people looking like police show up and start running towards the man.
But in a twist, the police pass by him and detain a Scandinavian-looking man instead. The clip ends with the bearded character helping out a girl and walking away with a family.
Ueland and the 24-year-old Vespersen from Denmark were killed near a path leading to the mountain peak of Toubkal, a popular hiking destination in Morocco. One of the victims was completely beheaded, while the other sustained an attempted beheading with serious neck wounds.
Images of the brutal decapitation of one of the girls emerged online, with a knife-wielding perpetrator shouting “It’s Allah’s will” and “This is revenge for our brothers in Hajin in Syria. These are your heads, enemy of God”. The footage shows a man using a large knife to sever the head of a blonde woman.
Danish intelligence services have authenticated the extremely graphic footage, Sputnik News reported. Norwegian police have also concluded that the footage is real. “So far, there is nothing concrete to show that this video is not real,” the crime investigation service Kripos said in an official statement in Norwegian.
The bodies of the two university students were found on Monday inside their tent. Moroccan police say four men arrested this week appeared in a separate propaganda video recorded before the murders.
Moroccan police have meanwhile arrested 13 suspects they believe are linked to the international terrorist network.
While hundreds of inhabitants from the hometown of Ueland held a torchlit procession to show solidarity with the victim’s families, the mainstream media has ignored the beheadings.
Ueland was from Bryne in Norway. People marched through the streets of the coastal town on Friday evening. Her parents, friends and other family members participated in the march, alongside Reinert Kverneland, mayor of the municipality.
“We want to show that we care about each other, and that we are together for a kinder world,” said Odd Ivar Nese, one of the organisers.
“It’s important to stand together and be important for people to show solidarity,” Thor Inge Sveinsvoll, Red Cross organiser told Norwegian daily Aftenposten.
“It’s important to stand together and show emotions, it’s shock and grief you cannot understand.”