The Islamic State (IS) posted on Saturday a video online showing second Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, 47, about to be beheaded by jihadist John. IS offered to spare the life of Goto in exchange for a Sajida al-Rishawi, a female suicide bomber held in prison by Jordan with a hanging sentence on her head.
Jordan offered to free the al-Qaeda inmate to save instead the life of Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, but neither prisoner swap took place and the original Thursday deadline set by the IS lapsed. Japan and Jordan held indirect negotiations with IS with Iraqi tribal leaders as mediators, but the talks were deadlock.
While like other IS videos, there is no independent verification, the clip had the symbol of al-Furqan, the media arm of IS. Further, all decapitation videos of the extremist militant group in the past of American and British hostage as well the first Japanese captive, Haruna Yukawa, turned out to be true, reports AP.
Like the past decapitations, Goto was dressed in an orange jumpsuit and was kneeling, while jihadist John was in an all-black attire. Titled “A Message to the Government of Japan,” the video started with jihadist John, with his distinct British accent, saying, “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 of Japan begin.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on hearing news of the beheading, convened had an emergency cabinet meeting. He expressed indignation at the “immoral and heinous act of terrorism,” even as he said he is left speechless, thinking of the grief suffered by the journalist’s family.
But despite the loss of two lives, he vowed that Tokyo will not give in to terrorism and promised to make good his pledge of $200 million donation as humanitarian aid to nations battling the extremist group.
Goto’s family appears prepared for the inevitable, although they also expressed sadness at the turn of events. Junichi Goto, brother of the decapitated journalist, he was hoping that Kenji would be able to go back to Japan alive and is so sad he couldn’t. Junko Ishido, the mum of Goto, told HNK TV that her son’s death is proof of the kindness of his heart since he was in Syria to save Yukawa, a friend.
Unlike other IS beheading videos followed by who’s next, the IS didn’t hint of impending chopping of the pilot’s head. On the same day, relatives of al-Kaseasbeh held a candlelit vigil at his clan’s house in Karak.
Yassin Rawashda, uncle of the pilot, said, “We want to know how the negotiations are going … in a positive direction or not. And we want the family to be (involved) in the course of negotiations,” quotes CBS.
U.S. President Barack Obama condemned Goto’s decapitation as a heinous murder and gave the thumbs up to Mr Abe’s “steadfast commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Middle East and globally.”
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