Oslo: Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday there was no reason to doubt that a Norwegian citizen taken hostage by the Islamic State (IS) was killed.
The IS "claimed today that they have executed Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad ... Our experts are examining (the published pictures) but so far we have no reason to doubt its content," Solberg told a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Borge Brende, Xinhua reported.
"This is a cold-blooded murder. The government strongly condemns the killing of a Norwegian citizen. This is a despicable and barbaric act," the Norwegian prime minister said.
Solberg reiterated that Norway would never pay ransom, saying "it will put more Norwegians in danger, help the funding of terrorism, and breach our international obligations."
The IS included gruesome images of the bodies of a Norwegian and a Chinese man in the latest issue of its English-language magazine "Dabiq", saying they had been "executed".
In September, the IS said it captured Grimsgaard-Ofstad and Fan Jinghui, and demanded an unspecified ransom for their release.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said then that the description given by the IS about Fan matches a Chinese missing abroad, adding that China is firmly opposed to violence against innocent civilians.
The extremist group did not specify when or where the two had been captured.