ISIS kills second Japanese hostage
by Leigh Jones
Posted 1/31/15, 05:11 pm
Islamic State militants released a video late Saturday showing the beheading of a Japanese journalist held hostage by the group since October.
Kenji Goto, who was a Christian, said nothing in the minute-long video. As in other beheading videos released by the Islamic militants who have taken control of large swath of Iraq and Syria, the hostage wore an orange jumpsuit and knelt in front of a man clad head-to-toe in black. Before killing Goto, 47, the militant delivered a message to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this man will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found,” he said. “So let the nightmare for Japan begin.”
Japan convened an emergency cabinet meeting in response to the video, which Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described as a “deplorable terrorist act.”
The militant, who sounds like the same man who appeared in other videos featuring murdered Western hostages, made no mention of another hostage the group threatened to kill. Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh was captured in December after his plane crashed in a part of Syria under the terrorists’ control. Last week, the militants said they would spare the pilot’s life if the Jordanian government released an Iraqi female terrorist sentenced to die for her role in a 2005 attack in Jordan that killed 60 people. The group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, gave Jordanian officials 72 hours to agree to the deal.
Shortly before the deadline expired on Thursday, Jordan said it would free Saijda al-Rishawi but only in exchange for al-Kaseasbeh. They later demanded proof he was still alive. Jordanian officials declined to comment on the video showing Goto’s murder. Japanese and U.S. officials are still trying to confirm its authenticity.
“The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s actions and we call for the immediate release of all the remaining hostages,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council. “We stand in solidarity with our ally Japan.”
Goto traveled to Syria in an attempt to negotiate the release of another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa. A video released last week appeared to show Yakawa’s dead body in the background, but officials have yet to confirm its authenticity. ISIS initially demanded the Japanese government pay a $200 million ransom for the two men’s freedom.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.