IS 'executes' Chinese, Norwegian hostages as bastion pounded

IS 'executes' Chinese, Norwegian hostages as bastion pounded

IS 'executes' Chinese, Norwegian hostages as bastion pounded

The Islamic State group said it had killed two hostages, one Chinese and a Norwegian, as French and Russian air strikes on its Syrian stronghold reportedly left 33 fighters dead.

The jihadists' English-language Dabiq magazine featured graphic photos of two bodies that appeared to be Chinese hostage Fan Jinghui and Norwegian Ole-Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad.

A stamp-like caption overlaid on the full-page photo read: "Executed after being abandoned by the kafir (disbeliever) nations and organisations."

It was unclear when, where, or how they were killed, but their heads were bloodied by apparent gunshot wounds.

Their deaths come days after 129 people were killed in Paris in the worst ever militant attacks on French soil, and as Moscow launched fresh air raids against IS in Syria after confirming a "terrorist attack" brought down a Russian passenger jet in Egypt last month.
The Norwegian prime minister's office said the IS photos "seem to show that the hostage Ole-Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad was executed. We are still verifying it."

China confirmed Fan's "inhuman" death in a statement on its website Thursday, vowing to bring his killers to justice.

"The terrorist organisation has no regard for human decency and the bottom line of morality," spokesman Hong Lei said.

"They still carried out their barbaric acts of violence. The Chinese government strongly condemns this inhuman atrocity; we must bring these criminals to justice."

The two men were last featured in Dabiq's September edition, in which IS published an "advertisement" that they were "for sale".

The magazine also featured an article entitled "Paradigm Shift II" allegedly penned by British hostage John Cantlie as a sequel to the last piece published under his name in Dabiq's March issue.

The essay claims media outlets, security services and experts are acknowledging IS "is a genuine state", and comes after a long absence of Cantlie's "work", which is regularly featured in the magazine.

Since Sunday, Russian and French raids have struck arms depots, barracks and other areas in Raqa city, the jihadists' stronghold in northern Syria.

"This is where we must hit Daesh, in its lifeblood," said French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, using the Arabic acronym for the group.

A preliminary death toll from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said 72 hours of strikes "left 33 dead and dozens wounded in IS ranks".

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