Videos released of Japanese, Italian captives in Syria

This video image released on July 31, 2018, and provided courtesy of SITE Intelligence Group shows Japanese national, Yasuda Jumpei, appealing for his release as two armed men stand behind him at an unknown location in Syria on the July 25,2018 according to SITE. (AFP)
Updated 01 August 2018

Videos released of Japanese, Italian captives in Syria

  • The Italian hostage was kidnapped in Turkey in October 2016 before being taken to Syria

WASHINGTON: A terrorist group has released videos of a Japanese journalist and an Italian man held captive in Syria in which they appeal for their release, US-based monitors said Tuesday.
The two men — Japanese freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda and Italian national Alessandro Sandrini — appear in two separate videos that are nonetheless similar in their staging and were released by the SITE group, which tracks white supremacist and terrorist organizations.
SITE did not say which group was responsible for the videos.
Both men are shown kneeling in front of a wall wearing orange jumpsuits while armed men dressed head-to-toe in black stand behind them.
Jumpei is thought to have been abducted by the Al-Nusra Front, a former Al-Qaeda affiliate, in northern Syria in 2015.
He identifies himself as Korean in the video but speaks Japanese, giving the recording date as July 25, stating that he is in a bad situation and asking for help.
Sandrini gives a different date, July 19, and says that it is his last request to the Italian government.
The Italian hostage was kidnapped in Turkey in October 2016 before being taken to Syria, according to reports in the Italian media. He is believed to be from Brescia and is said to be around 32 years old.


Israeli court bars ‘racist’ candidates from September poll

Updated 6 min 25 sec ago

Israeli court bars ‘racist’ candidates from September poll

JERUSALEM: Israel’s Supreme Court has barred two members of an extreme-right party many view as racist from running in a September 17 general election.
The court ruled that candidates Benzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel, of the Jewish Power party could not stand, quoting a law barring “incitement to racism” by candidates, according to a court statement late Sunday.
Jewish Power members are followers of late racist rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach movement wanted to chase Arabs from Israel.
The ideology of Kahane, assassinated in New York in 1990, also inspired Baruch Goldstein, who carried out a massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers in Hebron in 1994.
The court rejected petitions to ban the Jewish Power as a party and upheld the candidacy of West Bank settler Itamar Ben-Gvir, who heads its electoral list.
Ben-Gvir acknowledges having a picture of Goldstein in his living room, but has reportedly said it is because he was a physician who rescued Jews targeted in Palestinian attacks.
Indicted 53 times since his youth, Ben-Gvir boasts of having been cleared in 46 cases. He decided to study law on the recommendation of judges so he could defend himself.
He now represents settlers accused of violence, including those allegedly responsible for an arson attack that killed an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and his parents in 2015 in the West Bank, an incident that drew widespread revulsion.
Jewish Power advocates removing “Israel’s enemies from our land,” a reference to Palestinians and Arab Israelis who carry out attacks.
It also calls for Israel annexing the occupied West Bank, where more than 2.5 million Palestinians live.
Alone it was considered unlikely to garner the 3.25 percent of votes cast necessary to get into parliament.
But a deal mentored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw it entering an electoral alliance with two other far-right parties, improving its chances.
The pact drew disgust from many in Israel and among Jewish communities abroad, particularly in the United States.
For Netanyahu, the deal ahead of what is expected to be a close election was pure politics.
He defended it by saying he does not want any right-wing votes to go to waste as he plans his next coalition.