We perish because we know not… #TLENews
The Islamic State claimed to have beheaded a Japanese journalist in a video released Saturday night, culminating a two-week-long drama that appears to have cost the lives of two Japanese men.
The video of the killing of the journalist, Kenji Goto, came two days after a deadline set by the extremists expired and the Jordanian government failed to give in to their demands that they exchange a convicted would-be suicide bomber for Mr. Goto’s life.
Left unclear by the video, which was posted on a Twitter account associated with the Islamic State’s media organization, al Furqan, was the fate of a Jordanian pilot, whom the extremists also threatened to kill if Jordan did not release the would-be bomber, Sajida al-Rishawi. Japan had not yet authenticated the video. Jordan did not publicly comment.
Jordan had agreed to release Ms. Rishawi only if the extremists produced proof that the pilot, First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, was still alive. He was shot down over Syria on Dec. 24 during airstrikes on the Islamic State.
The 67-second-long video showed Mr. Goto kneeling down in an orange jump suit while a black-masked extremist, who appeared to be the man known as Jihadi John because of his British-accented English, blamed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan for Mr. Goto’s fate.
“Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this knife 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,” the extremist said. He then began cutting Mr. Goto’s neck, but the screen went black, and then showed a still shot of his apparently decapitated body, hands still bound with handcuffs behind his back, and with his severed head placed on his back.
Mr. Abe had recently promised $200 million in nonlethal aid to countries fighting the Islamic State.
The extremists had earlier produced a photograph showing the other Japanese hostage, Haruna Yakuwa, also beheaded, a week before. The extremists had demanded $200 million to release both men, but after a previous ultimatum expired, they said they had killed Mr. Yakuwa. Then they changed their demand to a swap of Ms. Rishawi for Mr. Goto.
While there was widespread support in Jordan for a swap, officials insisted they wanted their pilot released as well, or at least wanted to see evidence he was still alive before releasing Ms. Rishawi, who was convicted for her abortive role in a series of bombings of hotels in Amman that killed at least 57 people in 2005.
The video of Mr. Goto’s apparent execution began with the extremist brandishing a knife toward the camera, while Mr. Goto kneeled and stared calmly at the camera, closing his eyes just before the knife was drawn across his throat. They appeared to be in a dry streambed.
“To the Japanese government,” the killer said, “You like your foolish allies in the Satanic coalition have yet to understand that we by Allah’s grace are the Islamic caliphate with authority and power. An entire army thirsty for your blood.”
Mr. Goto, 47, was known as a respected journalist who knew his way around conflict zones after having spent more than two decades covering them as a freelance television cameraman and the author of five books. He appeared initially drawn to Syria and Iraq by a lifelong idealistic zeal to cover the plight of the weak, and particularly refugee children.
New York Times