Norwegian PM Condemns killing of Daesh hostage

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, seen here earlier this month arriving in Malta for a conference, has expressed her sadness on the death of a hostage at the hands of Daesh. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

OSLO, Nov 18 (Reuters) – A Norwegian man held in Syria by Daesh has most likely been killed by his hostage takers, Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference on Wednesday, following reports by an online Daesh publication of his execution.

The man was identified as Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, who was believed to have been held captive since January. Daesh said in its Dabiq magazine that the Norwegian and a Chinese man had both been executed.

“We condemn the killing,” Solberg said, while adding that the government was still seeking further verification.

“We have no grounds to doubt the contents of the photos that have been published,” Foreign Minister Boerge Brende added.

Daesh said in the latest edition of its English language magazine on Wednesday that it had killed a Chinese and a Norwegian captive, showing what appeared to be pictures of the dead men under a banner reading “Executed”.

]In September, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said a Norwegian man had been heldhostage in Syria since January and was believed to be in the hands of Daesh.

She said Norway did not intend to pay a ransom for his release. Solberg said the man, named by the foreign ministry as Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, was in his 40s and had been held by several groups since he was first captured.

China’s Foreign Ministry also said in September that one of its citizens appeared to be in Daesh captivity.

In the previous issue of the magazine, Dabiq, Daesh showed pictures of two men who it said were Norwegian and Chinese, wearing yellow suits and with shaved heads.

It said their governments had “abandoned” them, but that they were “for sale” and ransom payments could secure their release.

It identified the Chinese man as Fan Jinghui and said he was a 50-year-old freelance consultant from Beijing. It identified Grimsgaard-Ofstad as a candidate for a masters degree in political science born in 1967.

In its latest issue, it did not give any details about how, when or where they were killed.

The magazine also carried a photo of what it said was the improvised bomb that brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board.

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