The Islamic State group said Wednesday that it has killed Norwegian and Chinese captives after earlier demanding ransoms for the two men.
The extremist group published two images of the men in the second-to-last page of its English-language magazine, saying they had been “executed after being abandoned by kafir nations and organisations.” ‘’Kafir” is the Arabic word for infidel. In the images, the men both appeared to have both been shot to death.
There was no immediate reaction in Beijing to the announcement, nor from the state-run Xinhua news agency. Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman Rune Bjastad said: “We have no confirmation yet.”
The group had earlier identified the Norwegian man as Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, 48, from Oslo, and the Chinese man as Fan Jinghui, 50, a freelance consultant from Beijing. It did not say when or where the two were captured.
The Islamic State group controls large areas in Iraq and Syria. The killing of the two men stood in contrast to other filmed beheadings and atrocities carried out by the group since seizing a third of Iraq in a lightning advance in 2014.
The demand for a cash ransom also stood in contrast to the group’s other hostage demands. The announced killings come as Islamic State militants face increasing airstrikes from a variety of countries, including the US, Russia and France, as well as ground attacks from Kurdish and other forces.