(Beirut Daily Star) Prayers were offered Friday at Tokyo's largest mosque for two Japanese hostages threatened with beheading by ISIS militants who had demanded $200 million for their release, as doubts grew about the latest video released by the jihadi group.
Militants affiliated with ISIS posted an online warning that the "countdown has begun" for the extremists to kill 47-year-old Kenji Goto and 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa. The extremists gave Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 72 hours to pay the ransom, and the deadline expired Friday.
The posting, which appeared on a forum popular among ISIS militants and sympathizers, did not show any images of the hostages, believed to be held somewhere in Syria.
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The status of efforts to free the men was unclear. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga was asked about the latest message and said Japan was analyzing it.