A week of negotiations by Japanese officials to save the life of reporter Kenji Goto has come to a gruesome end after the Islamic State terror group released a new video which purportedly showed the beheading of the Japanese journalist.
The still unauthenticated 66-second video titled, “A message to the government of Japan” shows the ISIS militant with a British accent known as “Jihadi John” cutting off the head of Goto. The video was released on militant websites.
Goto, shown kneeling in an orange jumpsuit, did not say anything throughout the video.
In a message addressed to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Jihadi John threatened to kill Japanese people wherever they are found.
“Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this man will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on, and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin.”
Japan had been working closely with Jordan in negotiating indirectly with the militants through Iraqi tribal leaders.
The Islamic State earlier called for a prisoner swap from Jordan and said it would release Goto and Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh in exchange for militant Sajida al-Rishawi, who is on death row in Jordan.
Jordan did not budge when ISIS failed to show proof the fighter pilot is still alive. The Jordanian government previously made a public announcement they will only release al-Rishawi in return for the pilot.
Last week, the first Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, was executed by ISIS after their $200 million ransom demand from Japan government was not met. Kenji Goto was captured in October last year after he traveled to Syria to try to win the freedom of Yukawa.
Prime Minister Abe said he felt “very sorry for this matter,” shortly after the gruesome video’s release. However, he vowed his government would continue fighting terrorism.
“The government has tried its best to deal with this matter, but we are deeply saddened by this despicable and horrendous act of terrorism and we denounce it in the strongest terms,” To the terrorists, we would never, never forgive them for this act.
Meanwhile, White House National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said the United States is aware of the new video and is now trying to confirm its authenticity.