UPDATED: The Islamic extremist organization IS claimed on Wednesday that it has executed both a Norwegian and a Chinese hostage they’d captured earlier this year. Prime Minister Erna Solberg said there was “no reason to doubt” the claim, although neither Norway’s foreign ministry nor police intelligence agency PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) could confirm the alleged killings.
Solberg and Foreign Minister Børge Brende condemned the “disgusting and barbaric” treatment of IS’ hostages at a press conference Wednesday evening. They dislosed that IS had sent photos and video of how they were beating Ole-Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, along with their demand for ransom earlier this year. News bureau AP reported on Wednesday that IS had announced the Norwegian and Chinese hostages’ executions in an online magazine, claiming both were killed after “infidel” countries and organizations had cut them off.
“There are no reasons for why he was treated as he was, neither in religion nor ideology,” Solberg said. “This just reflects a view that is the opposite of everything we stand for. All Norwegians, both Christians and Muslims, stand together today against these extortionists and murderers.” She added that the brutal executions of two people, in addition to the terrorist attacks in Beirut and in Paris, and the explosion on board a Russian flight over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, shows that IS is a barbarian organization, where brutality and human contempt dominate.
“Even though this is painful, we must never allow the terrorists to prevail,” Solberg said. Brende said the Norwegian victim’s family wanted people to know that the IS terrorists had also dismembered Grimsgaard-Ofstad’s body. On Wednesday night, they thanked Norwegian authorities for the efforts they made to get him freed.
Grimsgaard-Ofstad of Porsgrund in Telemark County had traveled to Syria last winter, ignoring warnings from his family. The 48-year-old man’s reasons for traveling were unclear, but he reported on social media that he had entered Syria from Lebanon in late January.
His family issued a statement in September saying that their “son and brother” had been kidnapped and held as a hostage in Syria since January. Government officials had kept the kidnapping under wraps as they dealt with ransom demands made by the kidnappers.
Solberg finally went live on national television in September, announcing that Norway would not pay any ransom but that efforts were continuing to negotiate for the hostage’s release.
Solberg’s statement came after IS had published photos of their hostages with a sign reading “Norwegian prisoner for sale.” His family stated that they had “no possibility” to raise the “enormous amount” demanded themselves.
On Wednesday evening, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said staff was working hard to verify the reported executions and would make an announcement when they had something to report.
The terrorist organization IS is under severe pressure after losing territory in Iraq, claiming responsibility for deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night and being targeted by Russian and French bombers since. More than 30 IS members were reported to have been killed themselves in the past three days.