Aboard Air Force One: US President Barack Obama strongly condemned Saturday the killing of a Japanese hostage by the Islamic State group, though the execution has not yet been independently confirmed.
"The United States strongly condemns the brutal murder of Japanese citizen Haruna Yukawa by the terrorist group," Obama said in a statement, referring to the IS group, as he flew to India for a visit.
Japanese officials were still working to verify a video posted online claiming that one of two men held hostage by Islamic State jihadists had been executed.
Images appear to show Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding a photograph of Yukawa`s slain body.
"We renew our call for the immediate release of Kenji Goto and all other remaining hostages," Obama added in the statement.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally Japan and applaud its commitment to peace and development in a region far from its shores."
The video was not posted on any of the IS group`s official channels and it does not bear the group`s black and white flag. The purported execution of Yukawa is also not shown.
The two hostages went into Syria last year and had been out of contact for months.
Goto, born in 1967, is a freelancer who set up a video production company named Independent Press, in 1996. It feeds video documentaries on the Middle East and other regions to Japanese television networks, including public broadcaster NHK.