Japanese government working to verify IS beheading video

Amy R. Connolly

TOKYO, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Japanese leaders are meeting to determine the authenticity of a video that purportedly shows Islamic State hostage Kenji Goto holding a photo of fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa after being beheaded.

The video shows a still image of Goto, a Japanese freelance journalist, holding the photo and a man's voice claiming to be Goto blaming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the death. The man said the IS no longer wants a $200 million ransom, but instead the release of Sajedah Rishawi, an alleged suicide bomber who is believed to have participated in a 2005 attack in Jordan.


"I am Kenji Goto Jogo," Goto said. "You have seen the photo of my cellmate Haruna slaughtered in the land of the Islamic Caliphate. You were warned. You were given a deadline and so my captives acted upon their words."

The video has not been independently verified. U.S.-based SITE Intelligence group, which monitors extremist activities, said the video has been distributed among IS Twitter accounts. Some are questioning the authenticity because it is the first time such a video was not released by Al Hayat Media Center, the official IS media arm, and a single photo, instead of video footage, was used.


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