Video was shared by extremists websites Saturday
An online video released Saturday night purported to show an Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militant behead Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, ending days of negotiations by diplomats to save the man.
The video, released on militant websites and highlighted by militant sympathizers on social media sites, bore the symbol of ISIS’s al-Furqan media arm.
Though the video could not be immediately independently verified by The Associated Press, it conformed to other beheading videos released by the extremists, who now control a third of both Syria and neighboring Iraq in its self-declared caliphate.
The video, called “A Message to the Government of Japan,” featured a militant who looked and sounded like a militant with a British accent who has taken part in other beheading videos by ISIS. Goto, kneeling in an orange prison jumpsuit, said nothing in the roughly one-minute-long video.
“Abe,” the militant says in the video, referring to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo 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.”
Goto was captured in October, after he traveled to Syria to try to win the release of Haruna Yukawa.
The hostage drama began last week after militants threatened to kill Goto and Yukawa in 72 hours unless Japan paid $200 million.
Jordan and Japan reportedly conducted indirect negotiations with the militants through Iraqi tribal leaders.
National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said the White House was aware of the video. “We are working to confirm its authenticity. The United States strongly condemns [ISIS’s] actions and we call for the immediate release of all remaining hostages. We stand in solidarity with our ally Japan.”