The UK has strongly condemned the apparent beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto as a “despicable and appalling murder” and pledged not to allow the Islamic State militant group to succeed.
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed his country stands united with Japan after the extremist group released a video appearing to show the beheading of hostage Goto.
The video showed a British-accented figure, known as Jihadi John, before gruesome footage of Goto’s decapitated body.
The apparent killing of the Japanese freelance journalist came days after reports of the beheading of another Japanese man, Haruna Yukawa.
"I condemn what appears to be the despicable and appalling murder of Kenji Goto. It is a reminder that ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) is the embodiment of evil, with no regard for human life," Cameron said in an official statement.
"Britain stands united with Japan at this tragic time and we will do all we can to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice, however long it takes,” he added.
In the video, a masked man looks into the camera and says: "To the Japanese government: You, like your foolish allies in the Satanic coalition, have yet to understand that we, by Allah's grace, are an Islamic caliphate with authority and power, an entire army thirsty for your blood."
"(Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin."
However, Cameron said the Japanese government is right “not to bow to terrorism.”
“The way we will defeat ISIL is not by giving in to these terrorists but by confronting them and their poisonous ideology,” he added.
But Cameron warned that defeating ISIL take time.
"With determination and patience, we will work together with Japan and our other allies to extinguish this terrorist threat and to stand up for the values of tolerance and peace," he said.
He said he believed defeating ISIL could take years.
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: "The apparent murder of Kenji Goto is a further demonstration of ISIL's contempt for human life.”
While Hammond extended his “deepest sympathy” to Goto’s family, friends and the people of Japan, he echoed Cameron remarks that the UK “stands alongside them, united against terrorism.”
In a separate statement, Hammond reiterated that “ISIL's brutality cannot be allowed to succeed.”
He confirmed the UK’s support for “Japan's longstanding and continuing commitment to promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, including through substantial humanitarian assistance."
Goto's murder is the latest in a growing list of foreign hostages apparently killed by Jihadi John.
It includes British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and American aid worker Peter.