TOKYO (AFP) - Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the apparent execution of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group as “unforgivable” on Wednesday, days after the murders of two Japanese hostages.“It was an unforgivable, outrageous act. I strongly condemn it,” Mr Abe said in Parliament hours after the militants released a video purportedly showing the 26-year-old pilot being burnt alive in a cage.
The highly choreographed 22-minute video released online showed images of a man purported to be First Lieutenant Maaz al-Kassasbeh, captured in December, engulfed in flames.“When I think about the feelings of his family, I am rendered simply speechless. Representing the Japanese government and people, I express here our sincere condolences,” Mr Abe said.“Japan is with Jordan at this difficult time,” he stated, offering “sincere solidarity”.“I am infuriated by these inhumane and despicable acts of terrorism,” he said.Jordanian state television said Lt Kassasbeh had already been killed on Jan 3, before ISIS offered to spare his life and free Japanese journalist Kenji Goto in return for the release of a would-be suicide bomber on death row, Sajida al-Rishawi.The beheading of journalist Mr Goto was announced in a video posted late last Saturday by ISIS militants and came a week after his friend and fellow captive Haruna Yukawa was murdered.
Earlier, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on Tuesday also condemned the apparent burning alive of a Jordanian pilot by ISIS militants, calling it an "appalling act".
Mr Ban labeled the ISIS group "a terrorist organisation with no regard for human life" and urged world governments to redouble their efforts to "combat the scourge of terrorism and extremism", according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
Lt Maaz al-Kassasbeh was captured in December when his F-16 jet crashed over northern Syria, a mission that was part of the US-led coalition campaign against the ISIS fighters. "The secretary-general's thoughts are with Mr al-Kassasbeh's family and loved ones," Mr Ban's spokesman said. "He shares their sorrow and stands today in solidarity with the government and people of Jordan in denouncing this appalling act."
The 15 members of the UN Security Council also denounced the apparent killing, saying "such continued acts of barbarism perpetrated by ISIL do not intimidate them but rather stiffen their resolve" to counter extremist movements.
The council also demanded the "immediate, safe and unconditional release" of prisoners held by ISIS, the Al-Nusra Front - Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate - and other groups with links to Al-Qaeda.
Jordan is a non-permanent member of the council.