According to footage posted online on Saturday morning, ISIS has executed one of its two Japanese hostages. In the video, Kenji Goto announces that his fellow prisoner, Haruna Yukawa, has been beheaded. (He displays what appear to be photos of Yukawa’s decapitated body.) Goto also says that the Islamic State is now demanding the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, who is currently imprisoned in Jordan for participating in the 2005 bombing of a hotel. “It is simple,” he says. “You give them Sajida and I will be released.” The militants had previously requested $200 million for Yukawa and Jogo’s freedom.
SITE Intelligence, which monitors extremist groups, said that the recording appears to be authentic, even though it “was made in a different style than the other beheading videos, seemingly rushed and even lacking the usual attribution to al-Furqan Media Foundation, a primary media arm of [ISIS].” Both the Japanese and the United States governments said they were working to establish the footage’s veracity.