Japan Reacts With Horror To Journalist Beheading
Appalled and saddened by news of journalist Kenji Goto's purported beheading by Islamic State extremists, Japan ordered heightened security precautions Sunday and said it would persist with its non-military support for fighting terrorism.
The failure to save Goto raised fears for the life of a Jordanian fighter pilot also held by the militant group that controls about a third of both Syria and Iraq. Unlike some earlier messages delivered in the crisis, the videothat circulated online late Saturday purporting to show a militant beheading Goto did not mention the pilot.
Jordan renewed an offer Sunday to swap an al-Qaida prisoner for the pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was seized after his F-16 crashed near the Islamic State group's de facto capital, Raqqa, Syria, in December.
Government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani told The Associated Press that "we are still ready to hand over" Sajida al-Rishawi, who faces death by hanging for her role in triple hotel bombings in Jordan in 2005.
Al-Momani also said his country spared no effort to free Goto.
The slaying of Goto, a freelance reporter whose work focused on refugees, children and other victims of war, shocked this country, which until now had not become directly embroiled in the fight against the militants.
"I feel indignation over this immoral and heinous act of terrorism," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after convening an emergency Cabinet meeting.
"When I think of the grief of his family, I am left speechless," he said. "We are filled with deep regret."