Alleged ISIS Video Claims Japanese Hostage Beheaded

Jan 24, 2015 at 11:19 AM ET

The Islamic State purportedly released a propaganda video Saturday morning that shows Japanese hostage Kenji Goto Jogo apparently alive and well but holding an image that appears to show the beheaded body of fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa (which we have blurred). Unlike previous beheading messages—which show the actual moment of execution—the new video is merely a static image with a voiceover, purportedly by Jogo.

In the scripted message, the Japanese-accented speaker says Yukawa was executed because Japan failed to comply with the Friday morning deadline for a $200 million ransom. “You were given a deadline, and so my captives [sic] acted upon their words,” he says.

The message indicates that Jogo’s release is still a possibility, conditional on securing the release of a female ISIS prisoner currently held prisoner in Jordan. Sajida al-Rishawi, who was named in the video, is a female suicide bomber currently appealing a death sentence in Jordan for her part in bombings there in 2005. Her suicide vest failed to detonate, and Jordanian security forces captured her.

Update: The video has been shared on ISIS websites but does not contain the logo of Furqan, the ISIS media wing. ISIS forum users were in disagreement on Saturday as to whether or not the video is authentic, with some users arguing that the source from which it has emerged is not a heavyweight or typical ISIS source.  Moderators on one of the most influential forums seemed to be saying that they were forced into publishing the video there ahead of time because it was pushed unexpectedly on Twitter by a user whose account has since been deleted. ISIS propaganda videos tend to have a title, and are usually published accompanied by a dissmeniation plan—none of which happened in this case.

This is not the first time lower-level ISIS members have jumped the gun and released propaganda ahead of schedule. A video showing the beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff was published by mistake back in September.