Cairo: In a new video released by the extremists, the Islamic State has threatened to kill two Japanese hostages – a military company operator and a journalist – and also demanded $200 million within 3 days.
The Islamic State, that has established a Caliphate across huge swathes of Iraq and Syria, has earlier killed five Westerners, three Americans and two Britons and later released their beheading videos to flaunt its audacity. However, it is for the first time that the extremists have targeted Asian hostages and also demanded a ransom to save the lives of the two Japanese hostages.
The video has many similarities to earlier ISIS beheading videos as both the hostages are seen wearing orange jumpsuits, also the militant spouting the threats has a British accent.
The IS released a video threatening to behead two Japanese citizens unless a $200M ransom is paid within 72 hours. pic.twitter.com/OpXihK6ezc
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) January 20, 2015
Giving an ultimatum of 3 days to pay a ransom of $200 million, the ISIS fighter says that the ransom demanded was to compensate for Japan's 'stupid' support for the US-led coalition bombing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
"You have 72 hours to pressurise your government into making a wise decision by paying the $200 million to save the lives of your citizens," the militant is heard as saying in a British accent according to an AFP report.
Addressing the PM of Japan directly, the ISIS fighter reportedly said, "To the prime minister of Japan: Although you are more than 8,500 kilometers (5,280 miles) from the Islamic State, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade.. You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims."
It can be noted that Japanese PM Shinzo Abe who is on a Middle East tour, had in Cairo pledged $200 mn in non-military aid to help the countries affected by the blood-smeared offensive by the ISIS in Syria and Iraq, in turn triggering mass exodus of refugees
However, the Japanese government has retorted that it will not "give in" to terrorism. "Our country`s stance -- contributing to the fight against terrorism without giving in -- remains unchanged," chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.
PM Shinzo Abe, who is in Jerusalem in the final leg of his Middle East tour, called the threat as "unacceptable" and demanded that the captives be released immediately. He added that that the safety of the Japanese citizens was the prime priority of the government.
"I strongly demand that they (hostages) not be harmed and that they be immediately released," PM Abe told reporters as he readied to fly back home after winding up the Mideast tour.
"The international community will not give in to terrorism and we have to make sure that we work together," the PM added.
The two hostages in the video have been identified by the ISIS militants as Kenji Goto Jogo (journalist) and Haruna Yukawa (military operator).
The video that was posted on many extremist accounts on social media, is said to have been made by the Islamic State group's al-Furqan media arm.
The video shows two Japanese hostages in orange jumpsuits and a knife-weilding extremist clad in black.
The Islamic State has earlier beheaded two US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig and also British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning.
The ISIS has also held British photojournalist John Cantlie as a captive, using him as a sort of spokesperson, as he has appeared in a series of ISIS propaganda videos.