MOSCOW, January 20 (Sputnik) – Shinzo Abe, Japans’ prime minister, pledged to make every effort to save two Japanese nationals, whom the Islamic State threatened to kill in 72 hours if it does not receive $200 million, the Associated Press reports.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Islamic State released a video message saying militants would kill hostages identified as Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa in 72 hours if the IS does not receive $200 million.
"To the prime minister of Japan: Although you are more than 8,000 and 500 kilometers (5,280 miles) from the Islamic State, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade," said a knife-wielding militant in the footage, as quoted by the AP.
The Islamist blamed Japan for providing $200 million in non-lethal assistance to countries that are currently battling the Islamic State. Abe promised that the aid would be distributed. AFP quoted him as saying that "[t]his posture will not change at all."
Japanese prime minister will return to Japan following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in the city of Ramallah on Tuesday.
The Islamic State, a radical Sunni group notorious for their cruelty, executed several foreign journalists, aid workers, soldiers and civilians after militants launched an offensive from their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa seizing large parts of northern Iraq in June 2014.