ISIS has released new claims in its online magazine Dabiq that it has executed two foreigners it was holding hostage for ransom.
The men were identified as 48-year-old Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, of Oslo, Norway, and Fan Jinghui, a 50-year-old from Beijing, China, The Associated Press reports.
ISIS first announced it was holding the men in September. Photos appearing to show the bodies of the two men after their executions were published in the November issue of the magazine. ISIS claims they were killed after being “abandoned by the Kafir nations and organizations.”
Here’s what you need to know about Grimsgaard-Ofstad:
1. He Was Being Held as a ‘Prisoner for Sale’
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has confirmed that a Norwegian citizen was being held hostage by the Islamic State, according to VG.
ISIS said in its hostage posters that anyone willing to pay ransom for the release of the men should contact a Telegram number.
“To whom it may concern of the pagans, crusaders, and their allies, as well as what are referred to as human ‘rights’ organizations: this Norwegian prisoner was abandoned by his government, which did not do its utmost to purchase his freedom. Whoever would like to pay the ransom for his release and transfer can contact the following telegram number,” ISIS says on the poster.
Solberg said Norwegian officials have been working on bringing Grimsgaard-Ofstad home for some time, according to VG, calling it a serious and complicated matter.
“The kidnappers have presented a series of demands and significant amounts of ransom money,” she said. “We cannot give in and won’t give into pressure from terrorists and criminals. Norway does not pay ransom.”
2. ISIS Also Claims to Have Executed a Chinese Consultant Along With Grimsgaard-Ofstad
ISIS also claims to be holding a 50-year-old Chinese man, Feng Jinghui, hostage with Grimsgaard-Ofstad. ISIS says Jinghui is a freelance consultant.
The terror group has often posted online messages and videos about Western hostages. In August, ISIS released a video threatening to execute Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek, who was being held in Egypt.
Salopek was executed on August 12.
3. The Terror Group Has Not Said When or Where the Men Were Captured
ISIS has not yet said when Grimsgaard-Ofstad and Jinghui were captured, or where they were being held. Video of the executions has not been released.
According to the Norwegian news site VG, the country’s government was made aware of the possible kidnapping of one of its citizens in Syria in late January. The government said they confirmed the kidnapping, and said Grimsgaard-Ofstad was held by different kidnappers, before eventually ending up with ISIS.
The PDFs of the magazine do not reveal where the hostages are. They do include personal information, including home addresses. The men are pictured in yellow jumpsuits in front of a black background.
4. His Facebook Page Shows That He Was in Syria in January
Grimsgaard-Ofstad posted on Facebook in January that he had “finally” made it into Syria. He had previously posted photos taken in Turkey.
He also posted links to several ISIS-related news stories over the past months.
5. He Was a Graduate Student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
The ISIS hostage poster claims that Grimsgaard-Ofstad had a bachelor’s degree in political science and is a master’s candidate in the same field.
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