ISIS claims it’s beheaded one Japanese hostage, offers a swap for the other

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ISIS, Japan, Hosting, Behead

(CNN)A picture and audio posted online Saturday purport to show that one of two Japanese hostages held by ISIS has been killed after a deadline for ransom passed. It also appears to relay the group’s new demand for the other’s freedom: a prisoner exchange.

The static image, shown in a video file posted by a known ISIS supporter, shows surviving Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, alone, in handcuffs and dressed in orange, holding a photo of what appears to be beheaded compatriot Haruna Yukawa.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday that the video is “highly credible.” U.S. authorities said they had no reason to doubt its authenticity.

Abe told Japanese broadcaster NHK that the killing was “abominable” and “unforgivable,” demanding the immediate release of Goto.

NHK also reported comments from Yukawa’s father.

“I still don’t want to believe it,” Shoichi Yukawa said, his face not shown in the report. “If I can see him again, I’d like to hold him in my arms.”

Saturday’s posting, came four days after an ISIS video demanded that the Japanese government pay $200 million within 72 hours for the two hostages’ release.

In the video released Saturday, the voice of a person claiming to be Goto says in English that Abe is to blame for Yukawa’s death.

“You were given a deadline,” he says.

The voice then relays the apparent new demand from ISIS — the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a woman arrested in Jordan in 2005 on suspicion of trying to take part in an attack in which others killed dozens at Jordanian hotels.

“They no longer want money, so you don’t need to worry about funding terrorists,” the voice says. “They are just demanding the release of their imprisoned sister Sajida al-Rishawi.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Abe talked by phone on Saturday, according Jordanian state news agency Petra.

The news agency did not detail what the two discussed beyond saying they “reviewed the latest developments in the Middle East.”

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