A second Japanese hostage has reportedly been killed by ISIS. The news comes a week after his colleague was beheaded by the Islamist terror group.
According to CNN, a one-minute video surfaced Saturday purportedly showing the decapitated body of captured journalist Kenji Goto, 47. Intelligence authorities have yet to verify the authenticity of the video, but it was supposedly consistent with other hostage videos released by ISIS (also known as ISIL), NBC News reports.
ISIS is also holding hostage Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was captured in Syria in December. In a video released Tuesday, the group had threatened to kill both al-Kaseasbeh and Goto in 24 hours if their demands were not met.
ISIS had proposed a prisoner swap involving the release of female suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, who was arrested in Jordan in 2005 for allegedly planning a terrorist attack on a hotel.
Goto’s apparent death follows the beheading of fellow Japanese journalist Haruna Yukawa. On Jan. 24, Goto appeared in a video allegedly released by ISIS in which he is seen holding up a photo that purportedly showed the dead body of Yukawa. The two were captured in Syria last year.
ISIS had demanded a $200 million ransom from Japan, in exchange for the release of Goto and Yukawa.
In a statement released shortly after Yukawa’s death, National Security Council deputy spokesperson Patrick Ventrell denounced the group’s actions.
“The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s actions and we call for the immediate release of all the remaining hostages,” he said. “The United States is fully supportive of Japan in this matter. We stand in solidarity with Japan and are coordinating closely.”
President Barack Obama also issued a statement on Saturday evening.
“The United States condemns the heinous murder of Japanese citizen and journalist Kenji Goto by the terrorist group ISIL,” he said. “Through his reporting, Mr. Goto courageously sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world.”
“Our thoughts are with Mr. Goto s family and loved ones, and we stand today in solidarity with Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese people in denouncing this barbaric act. We applaud Japan s steadfast commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Middle East and globally, including its generous assistance for innocent people affected by the conflicts in the region.”
The president continued, “Standing together with a broad coalition of allies and partners, the United States will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”