• Kyodo


The following is a chronology of major events related to the Islamic State hostage crisis.

July 28, 2014: Self-styled security contractor Haruna Yukawa enters Syria from Turkey by land.

Aug. 8: The United States begins airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq.

Aug. 14: A man believed to be Yukawa is captured in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. The Islamic State group later claims responsibility.

Aug. 16: The Japanese Embassy in Amman, the Jordanian capital, is notified by a third party of the capture of a Japanese national, likely Yukawa. The government sets up task force in Amman.

Aug. 18: In Istanbul, Japanese officials meet the leader of the Syrian National Coalition, a Western-backed Syrian rebel umbrella group, to seek assistance in securing the man’s release.

Sept. 23: U.S.-led forces launch airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Oct. 25: Journalist Kenji Goto, an acquaintance of Yukawa, heads to the extremist group’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria, and goes missing.

Jan. 17, 2015: In a speech in Cairo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledges $200 million in nonmilitary aid to countries in the region “contending” with the Islamic State group.

Jan. 20: The group threatens in a video to kill two Japanese hostages unless a $200 million ransom is paid. The government determines the two are Yukawa and Goto.

Jan. 24: A video of a still image of Goto holding a photo purportedly of a beheaded Yukawa is released with an audio message that withdraws the ransom but demands instead that the Jordanian government release a woman put on death row for an attempted suicide bombing.

Jan. 27: A new online photo of a man emerges accompanied by an audio message from someone claiming to be Goto. The message says he has “24 hours left to live” and again calls for the female convict, Sajida al-Rishawi, to be released in exchange for Goto’s life.

Jan. 29: Another audio message purportedly from Goto is posted online by the Islamic State group, threatening to kill a captured Jordanian pilot if the bomber is not ready to be freed by sunset Thursday, by clocks in Mosul, Iraq. Jordan refuses to trade without proof its pilot is alive.

Feb. 1: The Islamic State group posts an online video message purportedly showing the beheaded body of Goto.

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