Majid Rafizadeh of International American Council discusses ISIS in Asia

World Today

ISIL has threatened to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours, demanding a $200 million ransom in a video posted online Tuesday that showed a knife-brandishing masked militant standing over the two kneeling captives.

Majid Rafizadeh of International American Council discusses ISIS in Asia

ISIL has threatened to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours, demanding a $200 million ransom in a video posted online Tuesday that showed a knife-brandishing masked militant standing over the two kneeling captives.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was traveling in the Middle East, vowed to save the men. But with his military only operating in a self-defense capacity at home, Abe faces a hard choice: openly pay the extremists or ask an ally like the United States to attempt a risky rescue inside Syria.

Tuesday’s video, released via militant websites associated with the Islamic State group, mirrored other hostage threats the extremists have made. In it, the captives, 47-year-old Kenji Goto, a military contract worker, and 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa, a freelance journalist, were shown in orange jumpsuits with a rocky hill in the background, a black-clad militant standing between them. The scene resembles others featuring five hostages previously beheaded by the Islamic State group, which controls a third of Iraq and Syria.

The ransom is the exact amount of money that Japan has pledged to help fight ISIL.

CCTV America interviewed Majid Rafizadeh, the president of the International American Council and a scholar at Harvard University, about the latest events.

Story compiled with information from CCTV America and AP reports.