Accessibility links

Breaking News

Killing of Hostages 'Barbaric,' Says Norway's Prime Minister


Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg (L) and Foreign Minister Borge Brende attend a news conference in Oslo, Nov. 18, 2015. A Norwegian man held in Syria by Islamic State has most likely been killed by his hostage takers, Solberg told a news conference on Wednesday, following reports by an online IS publication of his execution.

Norway's prime minister says the killing of a Norwegian citizen by the Islamic State is a "barbaric act."

"There is no excuse for the treatment our countryman has been exposed to," Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Wednesday, "neither in religion or ideology. This is a cold-blooded murder."

Islamic State militants claim to have killed the Norwegian and a Chinese hostage in their online English-language magazine, Dabiq.

It showed photos of two bodies it said were those of Chinese national Fan Jinghui, 50, and Norweigian Ole-Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, 48. A caption said the two were "executed after being abandoned by the kafir [infidel] nations and organizations."

The men appeared to have been shot to death, the Associated Press reported. The IS group infamously has recorded video footage of the executions of other hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

It is unclear how or where Fan, a freelance consultant, was captured. Grimsgaard-Ofstad, described by the AP as a graduate student in political philosophy, was taken while traveling through Syria in January. His last Facebook post, from late that month, said he’d arrived in the city of Idlib, en route to Hama.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry declined to comment Wednesday. In September, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Norway did not plan to pay ransom to secure the release of a hostage believed to be in IS hands, Reuters reports.

No comment on the alleged killings has yet been issued by China's Foreign Ministry or its state-run Xinhua news agency. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, "We are still verifying the information.''