Rukmini Callimachi @rcallimachi Correspondent for The New York Times, covering ISIS. NBC contributor. Previously, seven years in West Africa. Ex-AP bureau chief. Ex-refugee. Dec. 20, 2018 1 min read

1. Apropos of ISIS being gone: In Morocco on Monday, the bodies of two tourists were found. Today, Morocco's chief prosecutor confirmed that 4 men who had pledged allegiance to ISIS last week are in custody for the murder of Louisa Jespersen of Denmark & Maren Ueland of Norway:

2. ISIS has not as yet claimed the attack & the pledge video screengrabbed here was not distributed on ISIS' channels on Telegram, suggesting the men had no online connection to the terrorist group. But Denmark is calling the killings terrorism & 1 of the 4 has ties to extremists

3. Here is what I learned from sources today: In the pledge video, you hear the men vowing fealty to "emir al-mumineem," the emir of the believers, the term ISIS members use to refer Baghdadi. They also say they cannot "sit on the sidelines" while "Crusader planes" bomb people

4. When I hear these terms, I know that the people involved have - at a minimum - spent time soaking in ISIS' propaganda, because that's how ISIS talks. More disturbing is a video showing a young woman being decapitated. Her face is pinned down under the foot of her attacker.

5. During the slaughter, you hear the man talking about Hajin, the last town in Syria that until a few days ago was under ISIS control, and has been the scene of intense Coalition bombing. Danish officials say they are still trying to ascertain the authenticity of this video

6. But here is a concerning development: A European official close to the investigation confirmed that the beheading video was sent by private messenger to friends of the killed Danish woman by unknown senders who appeared to have Moroccan profiles. Police is investigating.

7. ISIS doesn't usually claim attacks when their guys are in handcuffs, so we may never see an ISIS claim. It remains odd that the attackers, who recorded the pledge video a week before the attack, appear to know all the ISIS lingo, but don't seem to be in touch with ISIS online.

You can follow @rcallimachi.


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