The "Islamic State" (IS) group has claimed to be holding a Norwegian man and a Chinese consultant hostage in Syria. The terrorist organization has demanded a ransom for their release.
IS posted pictures of the two men wearing yellow prison outfits in the latest issue of the Sunni Muslim jihadists' English-language magazine, Dabiq, on Wednesday.
The two hostages have been identified as 48-year-old Norwegian Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, and 50-year-old Fan Jinghui, a freelance consultant from Beijing.
Beneath the pictures of the men read the message: "To whom it may concern of the Crusaders, pagans, and their allies, as well as what are referred to as human 'rights' organizations, this prisoner was abandoned by his government, which did not do its utmost to purchase his freedom."
Alongside the pictures was a telegram number. "Whoever would like to pay the ransom for his release and transfer can contact the following telegram number," Dabiq said, adding that is a "limited time offer."
The magazine did not state, however, when or where the two men were captured. Nor did the article say how much money was being demanded, or if there was a deadline for the ransom.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg confirmed shortly after the magazine's publication that a Norwegian citizen was being held hostage.
"I can confirm that a Norwegian citizen has been kidnapped and is being held prisoner in Syria," she said in a statement.
"This is a serious and complicated affair," Solberg said, adding that "our objective is to bring our fellow citizen home safely to Norway."
The capture of the men is the latest in a series of hostage takings by IS, who have taken over large swathes of Syria and Iraq.
ksb/bw (AFP, AP)