The Islamic militant group ISIL has published claims in its online magazine Dabiq that it is holding two prisoners – one from Norway and one from China – and inviting ransom offers for the hostages.
The Norwegian has been identified as 48-year Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad from Oslo, but the country’s prime minister was defiant.
“The government takes this case very seriously. We cannot and will not give in to pressure from terrorists and criminals”, said Erna Solberg. “Norway does not pay ransom demands. That is a principle we can’t deviate from when dealing with cynical terrorists.”
ISIL also claims to be holding a 50-year-old Chinese man, Feng Jinghui, a freelance consultant. He too is offered ‘for sale’ on the site.
The United Nations estimates that ISIL received between 35 and 45 million dollars (31 – 40m euros) in ransom payments in 2014 – money that it can use to keep up its military campaign.