IS Reportedly Kills Japanese Hostage

IS Reportedly Kills Japanese HostageIS Reportedly Kills Japanese Hostage

One of the Japanese hostages captured by Islamic State militants was said to have been killed after a deadline passed for Japan to pay a $200 million ransom to secure his release. IS reportedly released a video announcing the execution of one of the two hostages.

The video, which is nearly three minutes long, consists of a still photo of captured Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, holding an alleged photograph showing the beheaded corpse of his fellow hostage, Haruna Yukawa, IBTimes said in a report. In the video, Goto is allegedly recorded speaking in English, claiming that his captors are no longer demanding the $200m ransom and are now calling for a prisoner swap. IS demands the release of failed female suicide bomber Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, who attempted to blow herself up as part of the 2005 Amman bombings in Jordan.

Al-Rishawi is currently in prison in Jordan. During the 2005 attack in Amman her suicide belt did not detonate and she survived. She was later captured and confessed, but retracted her confession. She was sentenced to death in 2006, but appealed to the court and the case is still in process of appeal.

The video which has yet to be independently verified comes after a 72-hour deadline expired for the Japanese government to pay for the safe release of both hostages.

Analysts have already questioned the authenticity of the video, citing the fact that the video was not released by the official IS media branch and does not contain the same opening and visual style. It is also the first time the IS has not used visual footage, choosing to use a single still photo of the alleged dead hostage.

Likewise the demands for a prisoner swap would be a surprising U-turn by the IS if the video is proved to be genuine. Japan strongly criticized the recording and demanded the immediate release of another captive depicted as appearing on the image. Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, in a brief televised statement, said the recording appeared to show captive Haruna Yukawa being killed.

"This is an outrageous and unacceptable act," Suga said. "We strongly demand the prompt release of the remaining Mr. Kenji Goto, without harm." Suga read the statement and declined to take questions. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had earlier said that he will stand by his country’s commitment not to pay ransoms.

Abe said multiple times that he will not give in to terrorism.