The ISIS terrorist known as “Jihadi John” is back.
The man believed responsible for the beheading of a number of American and British civilians is again the subject of a new Islamic State hostage video. This time, his captives are believed to be two Japanese citizens captured by ISIS fighters in Syria.
“To the prime minister of Japan: Although you are more than 8,500 kilometers from the Islamic State, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade,” the masked Islamist insisted in the recently released video.
“Just as how your government has made the foolish decision to pay $200 million to fight the Islamic State, you now have 72 hours to pressure your government in making a wise decision, by paying that $200 million to save the lives of your citizens,” the ISIS fighter said into the camera. “Otherwise this knife will become your nightmare.”
ABC News reported that the Japanese government has been faced with Islamic State threats before and is striking a defiant posture in the face of this aggression.
Last year ISIS released a video of what their fighters claimed was a captured Japanese “spy,” who had been beaten and bloodied.
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, spoke about the video just hours after it appeared online, saying that his country would not give in to terrorism and that the country would do their best to protect its captured citizens.
“It is unforgivable and I feel strong resentment,” Abe said, according to The Associated Press. A ministry official told the AP that the anti-terrorism section is assessing the video.
The White House is publicly urging the Japanese government to refuse to pay ISIS the exorbitant ransom it demands for the release of these hostages, funds which will undoubtedly go toward financing the nascent caliphate’s war against Western powers as well as the governments of Syria and Iraq.
But the reaction in Japan to the hostage video has been a visceral one that evokes traumatic memories lingering from the Iraq War.
“In a gruesome October 2004 case involving Islamist militants in Iraq, 24-year-old tourist Shosei Koda was killed. The group holding him had posted a video demanding the withdrawal of the Self-Defense Forces from the country within 48 hours,” a report in The Japan Times recalled. “The administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi rejected the demand, and Koda was decapitated.”
As for whether Japan will refuse to capitulate to the demands of ISIS terrorists, that seems an open question for now.
“In his news conference, the prime minister was asked whether Japan will pay the ransom or will negotiate with the Islamic State,” Asahi Shimbun reported. “However, he did not directly address those questions.”