A video that purportedly shows ISIS’s beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto was posted online on Saturday. While the authenticity of the recording hasn’t been officially confirmed, it closely resembles previous execution videos released by the extremist group. The video also seems to feature “Jihadi John,” the British terrorist responsible for the deaths of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and other Islamic State hostages.
In the video, titled “A Message to the Government of Japan,” the masked executioner addresses Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. “To the Japanese government, you, like your foolish allies in the Satanic coalition, have yet to understand that we, by Allah’s grace, are an Islamic caliphate with authority and power, an entire army thirsty for your blood,” he says. “Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this man will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin.” Goto does not speak. The screen fades to black, and an image of what appears to be Goto’s decapitated body is shown.
Goto’s wife, Rinko, publicly pleaded for her husband’s life earlier this week: “My husband and I have two very young daughters. Our baby girl was only three weeks old when Kenji left. I hope our oldest daughter, who is just two, will get to see her father again. I want them both to grow up knowing their father,” she said. “My husband is a good and honest man who went to Syria to show the plight of those who suffer.”
Goto was captured by ISIS while trying to rescue his friend, Haruna Yukawa, who is said to have been killed last week. Goto’s death followed days of efforts to free him and another hostage, Jordanian pilot Mu’adh al-Kasasibah. The Islamic State had demanded the release of attempted suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, who is currently imprisoned in Jordan, in exchange for Goto, and the Jordanians agreed to the deal before balking because the terrorists wouldn’t provide proof that Kasasibah is alive. (ISIS’s willingness to include Kasasibah in the swap was never clear.) Saturday’s video made no mention of his fate.