A video posted online late Saturday showed one of the two Japanese hostages seized by the Islamic State radical group holding an image of what appeared to be the corpse of the other. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the credibility of the video is “high,” indicating that the government believes that the hostage Haruna Yukawa, a private security contractor who has been detained by the radical group since last summer, has been murdered. We condemn this cold blooded and despicable act, and urge the government to explore all possible means for the rescue of the remaining hostage.
The video message stated that the group, which has seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq in its violent quest to create an Islamic caliphate, was giving up its earlier demand that Japan pay $200 million in exchange for the lives of Yukawa and freelance journalist Kenji Goto. Its new condition for freeing Goto is the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a convicted female terrorist who is on death row in Jordan for her involvement in the 2005 suicide bombing attacks that killed 57 people in the Jordanian capital of Amman.
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