ISIS on journalist’s beheading: ‘Let the nightmare for Japan begin’

February 1, 2015 7:48 pm

 Junko Ishido, mother of journalist Kenji Goto (inset), is
distraught after the release of an online video that purports to show an
militant beheading her son. Photos / AP

Isis (Islamic State) released a video yesterday purportedly showing
the beheading of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist held hostage by the
extremist group, after negotiations for a prisoner exchange stalled.


strongly condemned the killing, saying an “atrocious act of
had been committed and the nation was “outraged by the horrific act”.
Japanese
and Jordanian authorities had been negotiating for days to swap Goto
and Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh for an Iraqi woman who is on
death row in Jordan for her role in a 2005 triple bombing attack in
Amman.
Isis had said that if the woman, Sajida al-Rishawi, was
not returned by Friday morning, it would first kill Kaseasbeh, who was
captured when his plane crashed in last month, then Goto.
The negotiations appear to have broken down over Jordan’s insistence on receiving proof the pilot was still alive.

Yasuhide Nakayama, Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said on Saturday that they were “in a state of deadlock”.
There
was no mention of the fate of Kaseasbeh in yesterday’s video, which
showed Goto kneeling in the desert wearing an orange outfit, with the
black-clad executioner known as “Jihadi John” standing beside him.
“To
the Japanese Government: You, like your foolish allies in the Satanic
coalition, have yet to understand that we, by Allah’s grace, are an
Islamic caliphate with authority and power, an entire army thirsty for
your blood,” the man said in English, according to the Site Intelligence
group.
“Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in
an unwinnable war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji, but will
also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let
the nightmare for Japan begin,” the man said.
The video shows Goto’s beheading, then a body lying on the ground with a head on top of it.
The Japanese Government condemned the gruesome video.
“I
feel indignation over this immoral and heinous act of terrorism,” Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after convening an emergency Cabinet
meeting. “When I think of the grief of his family, I am left
speechless.”
“Kenji has died, and my heart is broken. Facing such
a tragic death, I’m just speechless,” Goto’s mother, Junko Ishido, told
reporters.
“I was hoping Kenji might be able to come home,” said
Goto’s brother Junichi Goto. “I was hoping he would return and thank
everyone for his rescue, but that’s impossible, and I’m bitterly
disappointed.”
White House officials said they were trying to authenticate the video.
“The
United States strongly condemns Isis’ actions, and we call for the
immediate release of all the remaining hostages,” said Bernadette
Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council. “We stand in
solidarity with our ally Japan.”
Goto, a 47-year-old father of
three, including two daughters under the age of 2, was a freelance video
journalist who was captured by Isis late last year while trying to
secure the release of his compatriot, Haruna Yukawa.
Yukawa, a
man who had suffered a series of setbacks in his life and had gone to
the Middle East on a voyage of self-discovery, appeared to have been
beheaded last week. Goto was shown in a previous video holding a photo
of an executed man who appeared to be Yukawa.
The two met while
travelling in the region. After Yukawa’s capture in August, Goto went
back to Syria to try to find him, only to be captured himself in late
October.
The men appeared in a hostage video last month while Abe
was on a tour of the Middle East. In Cairo, he pledged US$200 million
($276 million) in aid for countries who were taking in refugees from
Isis, which has occupied swathes of Syria in particular. Isis initially
demanded the same amount as a ransom for the two men. Then, after
Yukawa’s execution, changed its demand to the prisoner exchange.
On
Saturday, Goto’s wife, Rinko, issued her first statement. “I fear this
is the last chance for my husband, and we now have only a few hours left
to secure his release and the life of Lieutenant Muath al-Kaseasbeh,”
she wrote. “I beg the Jordanian and Japanese Government to understand
that the fates of both men are in their hands.”
Their youngest daughter was only three weeks old when Goto left to try to rescue Yukawa, she said.

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