The Islamic State group claimed Wednesday that it is holding hostage a Norwegian man and a Chinese national. The Sunni militant group posted the photos of the two men in the latest issue of its online magazine Dabiq and demanded ransom for their release.
The hostages, identified by the magazine as Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, 48, from Oslo, and Fan Jinghui, 50, a freelance consultant from Beijing, were seen wearing yellow prison outfits in the photos. The magazine also reportedly posted each man's purported occupation, date of birth and home address, but did not specify when and where they were captured.
The magazine lists a telegram number for "whoever would like to pay the ransom for his release and transfer," according to the Associated Press (AP). At the bottom of each page, the magazine wrote that the “sale” of the men is “a limited time offer.”
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, at a news conference in Oslo on Wednesday, confirmed that one of the hostages was a Norwegian man held in Syria, adding that "everything indicates" that ISIS "is behind it." He also reportedly said that the man was believed to have been captured toward the end of January.
"The kidnappers have presented a series of demands and significant amounts of ransom money," she said, according to the AP. "We cannot give in and won't give in to pressure from terrorists and criminals. Norway does not pay ransom."
Solberg reportedly added that the payment of ransom could increase the risk of other Norwegian nationals being taken as hostage. However, she said that authorities were working with various officials in several countries to free the hostage.
"Our goal is to get our citizen home," she said. "But let me be very clear, this is a very demanding case."
Chinese officials, however, have not commented on Jinghui's kidnapping, the AP reported.