Kenji Goto beheading an ‘utterly cruel and despicable act of terrorism’, says Japan’s PM

From Russell Myers, The Mirror

A film showing the horrific beheading of father-of-two Kenji Goto by Jihadi John has been released by ISIS

The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned Islamic State for beheading journalist Kenji Goto, describing the murder as an “utterly cruel and despicable act of terrorism”.

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A horrific, 67-second video was released showing dad-of-two Goto, 47, kneeling in front of the masked executioner known as Jihadi John.

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It then showed Mr Goto with his head placed on top of his decapitated body.

The film was released a week after IS militants beheaded another Japanese man Haruna Yukawa, 42.

Kenji Goto
Executed: Kenji Goto

Despite the murders, Jordan was prepared to do a prisoner swap to save a third hostage, pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, 26, who was captured when his plane was shot down in Syria in December.

IS have claimed he will be spared if Jordan hands over Sajida al-Rishawi, a 46-year-old Iraqi woman sentenced to death by hanging after being linked to a 2005 bomb attack at a wedding in Amman that killed more than 57 people.

IS had demanded a $200million ransom for the two Japanese hostages after PM Mr Abe pledged that amount in aid to countries battling IS.

Addressing Mr Abe in the film of Mr Goto’s murder, the militant said his “reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war” would lead to “carnage” for Japanese people.

ReutersShinzo Abe
Despicable: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brands the execution cruel

He said: “Let the nightmare for Japan begin.”

In a show of defiance, Mr Abe vowed to increase Japan’s humanitarian aid in the Middle East.

Mr Goto was seized in October after going to Syria to try to free Mr Yukawa, who had been captured in August.

Mr Goto’s mother Junko Ishido said: “My son’s last act was to go to Syria to help a fellow Japanese. So I want people to understand my son’s kindness and courage.”

PM David Cameron said Britain “stands united with Japan” and President Barack Obama condemned the “heinous murder”.