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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Islamic State threatens two Japanese captives in video

Japanese hostages Kenji Goto (L) and Haruna Yukawa (R) in orange jumpsuits with a black-clad militant brandishing a knife as he addresses the camera in English, standing between them at an undisclosed location.

The militant group Islamic State released an online video purporting to show two Japanese captives and threatening to kill them unless it received US$200 million in ransom.

A black-clad figure with a knife, standing in a barren landscape along with two kneeling men wearing orange clothing, said the Japanese public had 72 hours to pressure their government to stop its "foolish" support for the US-led coalition waging a military campaign against Islamic State.

"To the prime minister of Japan: Although you are more than 8,500 km away from the Islamic State, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade," said the militant, who spoke in English.

He demanded "200 million" without specifying a currency, but an Arabic subtitle identified it as US dollars.

The footage named the men as Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.

The video was not dated, but on a visit to Cairo on Jan. 17, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged around US$200 million in non-military assistance for countries battling Islamic State.

Abe, speaking in Jerusalem today near the end of a six-day tour of the Middle East, said Islamic State's threat against the two purported captives was "unacceptable".

"Extremism and Islam are completely different things," Abe said. "We strongly demand the immediate release of the Japanese citizens unharmed ... The international community needs to respond firmly and cooperate without caving into terrorism."

The video resembled others distributed by Islamic State outlets in which captives were threatened or killed. It appeared to be the first time that an Islamic State video specifically demanded cash for captives.

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Tags:  Islamic State  Japan  hostages  ransom  US  





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