The ransom request by Islamic State militants of $200 million for two Japanese hostages is in retaliation to Japan’s prime minister’s visit to the Middle East, a political and defense analyst said on Tuesday.
Shinzo Abe, who is wrapping up a six-day visit to the Middle East, on Saturday pledged $200 million in non-military aid for countries fighting the militants in Iraq and Syria.
Since 2008, IS militants have made at least $140 million in ransoms according to Greg Ohannessian, a Middle East Political and Defense analyst at Inegma.
Globally, hostage taking is a $1.5 billion industry annually, he added.
Ohannessian also said that the dramatic drop in oil prices has been a significant factor in the ransom demand. The militants’ oil profits have been slashed by 60 percent, prompting them to find additional funding for the group’s operations.
Abe has not confirmed nor denied whether the ransom will be paid out to the militants.
Report complied with information from the AP