Japanese hostage feared killed as government says will not give in to terrorism

From the Telegraph

Isil jihadists are feared to have beheaded one of two Japanese hostages for whom they had demanded $200 million in ransom in a video released last week.

In an audio tape sent to the family of one of the hostages, Kenji Goto, he appeals for help and say that the other, his friend Haruna Yukawa, has been killed.

As he speaks, Mr Goto is shown in a still photograph, in which he holds up another photograph showing what seems to be Mr Yukawa’s decapitated body with his head lying on his back – a now standard method used by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to display its victims.

“You have seen the photo of my cellmate Haruna slaughtered in the land of the Islamic Caliphate,” he says, addressing the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe. “You were warned. You were given a deadline and so my captors acted upon their words. Abe, you killed Haruna. You did not take the threat of my captors seriously and you did not act within 72 hours.”

Mr Goto then goes on to say his captors have changed their demands. They are no longer asking for money, he says, but for a prisoner exchange.

He says they want the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, who was convicted of taking part in a suicide bombing of the Jordanian capital Amman in 2005, along with her husband, which killed scores of people. Her own suicide belt failed to go off. She is also said to be a sister of Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, a former senior figure in the Islamic State of Iraq, who was killed before it morphed into its current form and was still part of the Iraqi insurgency against the American-led coalition.

The tape lacks the usual high-quality and melodramatic production values of normal Isil videos, and there was an initial suspicion that it might have been faked.

However, Mr Goto’s family, who received the tape on Friday night, are taking it seriously. They have been in regular contact with the kidnappers since he went to Syria in October and disappeared the following month. Isil had previously privately asked for a much lower ransom. 


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