Obama: New ISIS beheading is ‘heinous’

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President Obama on Saturday condemned as “heinous” the apparent beheading of a Japanese journalist by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISiS).

The journalist is Kenji Goto, a freelance in his late forties.

“Through his reporting, Mr. Goto courageously sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world,” Obama said in his statement. 

He added, “Standing together with a broad coalition of allies and partners, the United States will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.” ISIL is an alternative acronym for the terrorist group.

Obama’s statement also served as an acknowledgement that a video purporting to show the execution of Goto, which was released earlier on Saturday, is authentic. An earlier statement from a National Security Council spokeswoman had said that the United States was trying to determine whether the video was legitimate.  

In the video, a masked fighter wields a knife while addressing the Japanese government and threatening other allies in the U.S.-led coalition battling the group, before beheading Goto, according to the SITE Intel Group. 

{mosads}The video is just over a minute long and bears the symbol of ISIS’ media arm, according to The Associated Press, which first reported the video’s release.

Goto was captured in October in Syria. ISIS released a video last week of Goto alongside another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, demanding their country pay a $200 million ransom within three days or it would kill the men. It is believed the group has also killed Yukawa.
Last Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough indicated the U.S. would not help negotiate with ISIS over the release of the Japanese hostages. 
Obama’s statement Saturday noted, “We stand today in solidarity with [Japanese] Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese people in denouncing this barbaric act.”

The fate of another ISIS-held prisoner, Jordanian pilot Mu’adh al-Kasasibah, is unclear. The Jordanian was not mentioned in the newest video.

— Justin Sink and Niall Stanage contributed to this report. This story was last updated at 6:54 p.m.

Tags Hostage ISIL ISIS Japan Kenji Goto

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