ISIS announced on Wednesday it had executed two hostages, publishing images in its English-language magazine that appeared to show a Chinese and a Norwegian citizen had been shot to death. A full-page photo of the men included a caption, according to Agence France-Presse, that read: “Executed after being abandoned by the (infidel) nations and organizations.”
It’s not exactly clear when 48-year-old Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad from Norway and 50-year-old Fan Jinghui were killed or when exactly they were captured. They appeared in the September issue of the magazine where ISIS appeared to be demanded a ransom. “The Norwegian government had declined to pay, with Prime Minister Erna Solberg saying paying would increase risks for other Norwegians,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “The Chinese government said in September that it was taking emergency steps in response to reports one of its citizens had been kidnapped, but it didn’t elaborate.”
It remains unclear how the two were abducted, although the Journal reports, Grimsgaard-Ofstad may have been in Syria working as an aspiring freelance journalist of sorts. The Associated Press refers to him as “a graduate student in political philosophy.” Jinghui is described as a freelance consultant in media reports, although the AP characterized him as a “self-described ‘wanderer’ from Beijing who once taught middle school.” There is no indication of why he was in or around Syria. Authorities are working to confirm the authenticity of the images, but appear resigned to their authenticity.