An audio recording purportedly made by ISIS militants holding a Japanese hostage surfaced Wednesday, threatening another execution.
The recording appears to be of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto Jogo who warned that if an Iraqi woman held in Jordan is not released by sundown Thursday, his captors would kill a Jordanian pilot who is also being held hostage.
The recording, which appeared on a top ISIS web forum was obtained by Flashpoint Global Partners, a London-based group that monitors and tracks terrorist sites. It could not be immediately authenticated, but the Japanese government was expected to address it at a regularly scheduled press briefing early Thursday in Tokyo.
“I’m Kenji Goto Jogo,” a male voice says in English in the recording. “This is a voice message I’ve been told to send to you.” Goto then says Jordanian military pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh will be killed if a prisoner isn’t exchanged for a hostage. ISIS has sought to trade Goto for an Iraqi woman, Sajida Al-Rishawi, who was sentenced to death in Jordan for her involvement in a deadly terror attack in 2005. Another message that appeared to be from Goto surfaced Tuesday, saying that both he and al-Kaseasbeh had less than 24 hours to live.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned terrorism Thursday in an address before parliament, but he did not refer to the new audio recording. Abe said acts of terror by ISIS “have involved our innocent civilians” and called the acts unforgivable.
ISIS, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is a terror group that started as an offshoot of al-Qaeda and seeks to create a religious state in the Middle East. The brutal group is based in Syria, but has gained a foothold in parts of northern Iraq. ISIS militants have beheaded three Americans in recent months, in addition to other prisoners. Over the weekend, ISIS claimed to have beheaded another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa.
Alastair Jamieson contributed reporting.