Islamic State video appears to show beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto
Raqqa , Syria ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – The Islamic State group posted a new video on the Internet Sunday claiming it has killed Japanese hostage Kenji Goto and showing what appears to be the beheaded body of the freelance journalist who went missing in Syria last fall.
The video — the authenticity of which cannot be confirmed by The Japan Times — shows a masked man speaking in British-accented English standing beside Goto kneeling down on the ground, wearing an orange jumpsuit.
“To the Japanese government. You, like your foolish allies in the satanic coalition, have yet to understand that we, by Allah’s grace, are a large Islamic caliphate with authority and power and an entire army thirsty for your blood,” the man said, brandishing a knife.
“Abe, because of your decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji but will carry on and also cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin.”
Then the man applied the knife to the throat of Goto and the video switched to a still image of what appears to be the beheaded body of Goto.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga held a brief news conference at 6 a.m., condemning the video and the group.
“We feel even stronger indignation after such an inhuman, despicable act was committed. We again resolutely condemn this,” Suga said.
Around 6:40 a.m., Abe met with reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office, strongly condemning “the terrorist act” and pledging that Japan “will never give in to terrorism.”
“I feel heartbreaking pain,” Abe told reporters.
“I will never forgive terrorists. To have them pay for their crimes, I will work with the international community,” Abe said.
“Japan will keep expanding humanitarian aid, such as food and medical assistance” to countries in the Middle East, he said.
Abe also thanked the “leaders of the world and friends of Japan,” who cooperated to try to save the two Japanese hostages — Goto and another hostage, Haruna Yukawa, who is believed to have been killed by the group earlier. The prime minister offered thanks, in particular, to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who also faces a hostage crisis after the Islamic State abducted Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, a Jordan air force pilot whose jet crashed in Syria in December.
“(The king) gave us full support. On behalf of the (Japanese) nation, I’d like to thank him,” Abe said.
The hostage crisis started on Jan. 20 when the extremist group posted its first video showing the masked man threatening to kill Goto and Yukawa, claiming Japan has joined a “crusade” against the Islamic State group .
Later, the jihad group dropped its demand for money and instead demanded Jordan release Sajida al-Rishawi, a would-be suicide bomber imprisoned in Jordan, in exchange of Goto.
Jordan has said it is ready to release al-Rishawi for al-Kaseasbeh. Amman also indicated it had demanded the release of Goto along with the pilot in the proposed swap deal.
The talks between Jordan and the Islamic State group have been in a deadlock as the extremists refused to provide proof the pilot was alive.
Goto, began reporting on Syria and its people four years ago, when its civil war broke out. He went missing in mid-October in the north of the country after entering from Turkey, reportedly to look for Yukawa, who had allegedly been captured by the Islamic State group in August.
The White House said on Saturday the United States was working to authenticate the video purporting to show beheading of the second Japanese hostage Kenji Goto posted by the terrorist group ISIL and strongly condemned such crime.
“We have seen the video purporting to show that Japanese citizen Kenji Goto has been murdered by the terrorist group ISIL. We are working to confirm its authenticity,” said the White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan in a statement. “The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s actions and we call for the immediate release of all remaining hostages.”
ISIL demanded Japan pay a ransom of 200 million U.S. dollars for the lives of two Japanese hostages of Haruna Yukawa, 42, a security contractor from Chiba Prefecture and Kenji Goto, 47, a freelance journalist from Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. Haruna Yukawa was beheaded by ISIL a week ago.