Cairo: An online video released Tuesday purported to show the Islamic State group threatening to kill two Japanese hostages unless they receive a $200 million ransom in the next 72 hours.
The video, identified as being made by the Islamic State group's al-Furqan media arm and posted on militant websites associated with the extremist group, mirrored other hostage threats made the group. The man speaking also resembled and sounded like a British militant involved in other beheadings by the Islamic State group, which now holds a third of Iraq and Syria under its self-declared caliphate.
The video shows two hostages in orange jumpsuits that the militants identify as Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa. Japan's Foreign Ministry's anti-terrorism section has seen the video and analysts are assessing it, a ministry official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of department rules.
The militant with a British accent in the video said the Japanese were targeted for supporting Western military efforts against it.“You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims,” the militant says.
A British-accented jihadi also has appeared in the beheading videos of slain American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and with British hostages David Haines and Alan Henning.
In August, a Japanese citizen believed to be Yukawa, a private military company operator in his early 40s, was kidnapped in Syria. His reason for going to Syria remains unclear. Goto is a Japanese journalist who went to report on Syria's civil war last year.
The Islamic State group has beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives—mainly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers—during its sweep across the two countries, and has celebrated its mass killings in extremely graphic videos. It also holds British photojournalist John Cantlie, who has appeared in other extremist propaganda videos, and a 26-year-old American woman captured last year in Syria while working for aid groups. U.S. officials have asked that the woman not be identified out of fears for her safety.