In a video released on Tuesday, the Islamic State has threatened to execute to Japanese hostages unless they receive a $200 million ransom. If the ransom is not paid in the next 72 hours, or roughly three days, the hostages will be executed. The video states that Japan was targeted specifically because of its support for the war against the terrorist group. According to reports, the Japanese counter-terrorism ministry is looking into the threat to see what can be done.
This threat comes after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged $200 million to countries fighting against the Islamic State. It is a direct response to that move, which explains the sum that the militants are demanding for ransom. The militant who speaks in the video referenced this decision specifically, calling it a pledge “to destroy the homes of Muslims.” After calling it a “foolish decision,” the Islamic State spokesman urged the Japanese people to put pressure on Abe to make what he called a “wise decision.”
The two hostages shown in the video were dressed in orange jumpsuits. They were identified in the video as Kenji Goto Jogo, a Japanese journalist, and Haruna Yukawa, a member of a private military company. They were both kidnapped while in Syria. Kidnapping and death threats are a common mode of operation for the Islamic State, which has executed civilians before in retaliation for what it sees as Western interference. This video posted as a threat to execute these Japanese hostages is the latest in a string of such threats made by the Islamic State.
Breaking News By Lydia Bradbury