Washington: President Barack Obama has strongly condemned the killing of one of two Japanese hostages by the Islamic State group and said the US will work together to bring the perpetrators of these murders to justice.
"The United States strongly condemns the brutal murder of Japanese citizen Haruna Yukawa by the terrorist group," Obama said in a statement on his way to India yesterday.
"We will work together to bring the perpetrators of these murders to justice, and will continue to take decisive action to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. Our condolences today are with the people of Japan for the terrible loss," he said.
Obama renewed his call for the immediate release of another Japanese hostage Kenji Goto and all other remaining hostages.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally Japan and applaud its commitment to peace and development in a region far from its shores," he said.
Japanese officials were still working to verify a video posted online claiming that one of two men held hostage by Islamic State militants had been executed.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the despicable murder of Yukawa.
"America has known this pain and horror ourselves, and we stand with Japan not just in sadness, but in solidarity and strength. We grieve with Haruna Yukawa's family and loved ones and with all the people of Japan," he said.
"We join Japan in calling on Kenji Goto's captors to immediately release him, as we continue to call for the release of all other hostages. The United States will continue to support and coordinate closely with Japan as we stand together in confronting terrorism and extremism," Kerry said.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said inhumanity of IS stands in sharp contrast to the generous humanitarian aid Japan has provided to the Iraqi and Syrian people in recent months.
"Their continued barbarism only serves to strengthen our global coalition's shared resolve to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.
"We call for the immediate release of Kenji Goto and all other remaining hostages, and as I told Japanese Defense Minister Nakatani this week, the US and its military stand steadfast alongside our Japanese allies," Hagel said, while extending deepest condolences to the family of Yukawa.
On Tuesday, IS had released a video featuring the two Japanese hostages, demanding a USD 200 million ransom within 72 hours for their safe release.