Kenji Goto’s life has been on the line since he was taken hostage by ISIS in October of 2014, but it became clear that time was running short when ISIS, also known as ISIL, demanded the release of a Jordanian al-Qaeda prisoner in exchange for Goto’s release.
The negotiations fell through when the Jordanian government asked for the release of another hostage who was their pilot, Lt. Mu’ath al-Kasaesbeh. The government wanted proof of life first before they released the prisoner, a would-be suicide bomber, into the hands of ISIS.
However, it appeared the deal was only for Goto’s exchange, and for a time, there was no word on his or the pilot’s conditions.
ISIS, it seems, has finally answered back with a gruesome video.
According to ABC News, the video, entitled “A Message to the Japanese Government,” is only 66 seconds in length, but its images and message were clear.
A masked man, who appeared and sounded similar to the man known as Jihadi John, called groups who opposed the terror group’s mission a “satanic coalition.”
Next to the masked militant was a man who appeared to be Kenji Goto. Goto was kneeling in an orange jumpsuit, head held high but completely silent during the threats made to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other allies.
The masked man dressed in military-style clothing waved his knife around while making dark threats to the camera.
“An entire army is thirsty for your blood.”
Typical of other ISIS hostage beheading videos, the video is taken using different angles and edited. After the murderer warns, “Let the nightmare for Japan begin,” he puts the knife to Goto’s neck and the video fades to black. It is replaced by a graphic picture of a body, supposedly that of Kenji Goto.
According to the Associated Press, U.S. officials are still trying to confirm the video’s authenticity.
“We have seen the video purporting to show that Japanese citizen Kenji Goto has been murdered by the terrorist group ISIL,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council. “The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s actions and we call for the immediate release of all the remaining hostages. We stand in solidarity with our ally Japan.”
The video made no mention of the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Mu’ath al-Kasaesbeh. ISIS showed no other hostages at the end of the video purporting to document the execution of Kenji Goto.
[Photo via AP]