ISIS-linked Twitter accounts have distributed a video showing one of two Japanese hostages held by the group. In the video, Kenji Goto Jogo said fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa had been beheaded and that he would die next if the terror group's demands are not met. ISIS had demanded $200 million from the Japanese government in exchange for the two men, but Jogo said it now wants the release by Jordan of female would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi. He is shown in the video holding a photo of Yukawa beheaded (which is used in this story), but SiTE blurred the image.
The U.S. National Security Council said it had seen the video and that the "intelligence community is working to confirm its authenticity," in a statement. "We stand in solidarity with Japan and are coordinating closely."
Al-Rishawi is believed to have been dispatched by al Qaeda in Iraq to participate in the 2005 Amman hotel bombing in Jordan, which killed 38 people. She was caught by Jordanian authorities and sentenced to death by hanging. She has filed an appeal.
The hostage situation has been a major crisis for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but The Daily Beast learned it could have possibly been averted if the Japanese government hadn't interfered with negotiating efforts to release Yukawa last year. Japanese mediators were blocked from traveling to Syria to negotiate his release last year. This latest video has still images and an audio overlay, and the beheading is not shown on camera.
This latest video has still images and an audio overlay, and the beheading is not shown on camera.