THE four men suspected of savagely murdering two Scandinavian tourists were a lone wolf gang with no formal ties to ISIS, despite pledging themselves to the terror group, an official said today.

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, of Norway, were butchered on a hiking holiday near Mount Toubkal in Morocco by a group of brainwashed killers.

Boubker Sabik, spokesman for the Moroccan security and domestic intelligence service, said the four suspects, aged between 25 and 33 years, headed to the Imlil area with the intent of causing a crime.

He added they had not selected their target in advance.

In a video made before the bodies were found the gang pledged allegiance to ISIS - but they Sabik said they had not formally approached the terror group.

Speaking on the state 2M TV channel, Sabik described the four as "lone wolves".

"The crime was not coordinated with Islamic State," he said.

"Lone wolves do not need permission from their leader," he added, without explaining how the authorities had come to their conclusions.

He also revealed one of the four was arrested in 2013 as part of a crackdown on individuals who wanted to join extremists abroad.

It is understood this suspect radicalised the other three men.

The official added that the arrest of nine more suspects in the case "spared Morocco a terrorist plot".

Electronic devices, an unauthorised hunting rifles, knives and materials that could be used for bomb-making were found in the course of those raids.

No details of the suspected plot were provided but it was said Morocco is beefing up it's security efforts to combat ISIS fighters returning from Syria and Iraq.

Sabik went on to reveal that 242 of the 1,669 Moroccans who joined the terror group had been arrested.

Some had used false passports and tried to hide among refugees heading for Europe as ISIS began to lose key battles in the Middle East.