Islamic State issues video purporting to show Japanese hostages

Islamic State issues video purporting to show Japanese hostages

The Islamic State armed group which holds swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria issued a video online on Tuesday purporting to show two Japanese hostages and demanding US$200 million (S$266 million) from the Japanese government to save their lives.

A knife-wielding black-clad figure, standing in a desert area along with two kneeling men wearing orange clothing, said the Japanese public had 72 hours to pressure their government to stop its "foolish" support for the US-led coalition waging a military campaign against Islamic State.

"Otherwise this knife will become your nightmare," the black-clad figure said in English. He demanded "200 million" without specifying a currency, but an Arabic subtitle identified it as US dollars.

In Tokyo, a Japan foreign ministry spokesman said: "We are aware of the report. At present there is nothing we can say."

On a visit to Cairo on Jan. 17, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged about US$200 million in non-military assistance for countries battling Islamic State.

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