Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s comments on the hostage case

Statement to the press from the Office of the Prime Minister, 18 November 2015.

ISIL claim today that they have executed Norwegian national Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad.

We cannot at this stage confirm that the photograph that has been published is what they claim it to be. It is now being examined by our experts, but so far we have no reason to doubt its authenticity.

I have been in contact with his family this afternoon about this dreadful turn of events.

There can be no justification for the treatment our fellow citizen has been subjected to. Neither in religion nor in ideology.

It is quite simply cold-blooded murder.

The Government condemns the killing of a Norwegian citizen in the strongest possible terms. This was a despicable and barbaric act.

Our thoughts today are with his closest relatives. They will probably never be able to bring Ole Johan back to Norway. They have our deepest sympathy.

This is painful, both for the family and for the people of Norway. Our values are being challenged. Despite the pain, we will not let the terrorists win.

ISIL stands for oppression, violence and murder. The bombing of innocent people in Lebanon, the horrendous attacks in Paris and the terrorist attack on the plane flying over Sinai all bear witness to the barbarity of the organisation. All of these acts demonstrate the brutality of ISIL, and its contempt for humanity.

Terrorism cannot be tolerated in any form. That is why Norway is taking part in the coalition that is fighting ISIL. We are facing a view of humanity that is diametrically opposed to the one on which we wish to build our society. It is destructive – and characterised by hate and violence.

The atrocities committed by ISIL do not bring the world forward. When dealing with a group like this, changing Norwegian policy is out of the question. We will not let terrorists set our agenda.

We, Norwegians of all religions, stand united against barbaric murderers and extortionists.