Islamic State 'executes' Chinese, Norwegian hostages as bastion pounded
The Islamic State group said on Wednesday it had killed a Chinese and a Norwegian hostage, as French and Russian air strikes on its Syrian stronghold were reported to have left dead 33 fighters.
Beirut: The Islamic State group said on Wednesday it had killed a Chinese and a Norwegian hostage, as French and Russian air strikes on its Syrian stronghold were reported to have left dead 33 fighters.
Moscow announced its warplanes were "hunting" IS oil tanker trucks in Syria, a day after saying a "terrorist attack" brought down a Russian passenger jet over Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board.
Those deaths and the shootings and suicide bombings in Paris were claimed by the Islamic State group, which declared a self-styled "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria last year.
Today, IS said it had killed the two hostages from China and Norway.
Its 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.
The Norwegian prime minister's office said the photos "seem to show that the hostage Ole-Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad was executed. We are still verifying it."
The two hostages were last featured in Dabiq's September edition, in which IS published an "advertisement" announcing that each of them was "for sale".
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 by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said 72 hours of strikes "left 33 dead and dozens wounded in IS ranks".
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said the toll was relatively low because "the jihadists had taken precautions," including moving families of foreign fighters to Mosul, IS's relatively "safer" Iraq bastion.
Russia said its air force had destroyed some 500 fuel trucks in the past "few days" transporting oil from Syria to refineries in Iraq -- a key part of IS financing.