• Kyodo


The Islamic State militant group said in its English-language magazine published Thursday that the recent hostage crisis involving two Japanese men was aimed at shaming Japan after the country pledged aid for countries fighting the group.

In the group’s online publication Dabiq, the group said it decided “to humiliate the arrogance of this Japanese government” and was “not in need” of the $200 million it initially demanded for the release of the two hostages, 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa and 47-year-old Kenji Goto.

The amount was the same as that pledged by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in January for humanitarian assistance to countries battling Islamic State and the group said it “knew fully that the Japanese would never provide the sum.”

Despite diplomatic efforts, especially involving Jordan, the militants beheaded the two hostages.

The group also criticized the Jordanian government because it “recklessly complicated the process for the Japanese by attempting to include their pilot in the exchange deal.”

The militants later switched their demands to seeking the release of convicted Iraqi terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi from prison in Jordan in exchange for Goto. By then, Yukawa had been killed, according to an online posting by the group.

Jordan then offered to release al-Rishawi but included 1st Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh, a Jordanian military pilot who was held by Islamic State, in the negotiations for a possible hostage swap deal. The group released a video online last week showing the killing of al-Kasaesbeh.

Jordan subsequently executed al-Rishawi.

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