Islamic State demands $200 million for lives of 2 Japanese hostages

A man watches a television broadcasting a news about the two Japanese hostages at a store in Tokyo on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Shizuo Kambayashi

An online video released on Tuesday purported to show the Islamic State militants threatening to kill two Japanese hostages unless they receive a $200 million ransom in the next 72 hours.

The video, identified as being made by the Islamic State group’s al-Furqan media arm and posted on militant websites associated with the extremist group, mirrored other hostage threats it has made. The militant in it also directly addresses Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“To the Prime Minister of Japan - Although you are more than 8,000 and 500 kilometres from the Islamic State, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade,” says the knife-brandishing militant in the video. “You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims.”

The video shows two hostages in orange jumpsuits that the militants identify as Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa.

“The threat is unforgivable and I feel strong resentment,” Mr. Abe said in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Speaking in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to say whether Japan would pay the ransom.

“If true, the act of threat in exchange of people’s lives is unforgivable and we feel strong indignation,” Mr. Suga told journalists. “We will make our utmost effort to win their release as soon as possible.”

In August, a Japanese citizen believed to be Mr. Yukawa, a private military company operator, was kidnapped in Syria after going there to train with militants, according to a post on a blog kept. Pictures on his Facebook page show him in Iraq and Syria in July. One video on his page showed him holding a Kalashnikov assault rifle with the caption - “Syria war in Aleppo 2014.”

Mr. Goto is a respected Japanese freelance journalist, who went to report on Syria’s civil war in 2014 and knew of Mr. Yukawa.

“I’m in Syria for reporting,” he wrote in an email to an Associated Press journalist in October. “I hope I can convey the atmosphere from where I am and share it.”

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 12:02:22 PM |

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