May 28, 2005

Army of Ansar al-Sunnah Website: Japanese Hostage Akihiko Saito Dead

The al Qaeda linked Army of Ansar al-Sunnah website has announced the death of Japanese hostage Akihiko Saito. The group claimed in their earlier website to have attacked his convoy on May 9th killing all civilians except Saito [earlier post here along with pics and screenshot of now defunct website]. They also had previously claimed that Saito was injured. The video may be download here. Graphic images below.

Today's announcement was also accompanied by a nearly four minute propaganda video. Unlike other Ansar al-Sunnah propaganda videos in the past, this one did not show Saito being killed. Rather, it shows a number of photographs and documents taken from Saito when he was captured, and then cuts to graphic images of an already dead victim.

According to the SITE institute:

The group claimed that Mr. Saito fired at its members with his automatic weapon, so “the Brother had no choice but to shoot him with multiple bullets.” According to the message, Mr. Saito was not immediately killed. As American forces surrounded the area, the group claimed they were forced to retreat. Upon their return to the area, the message said, they had found that Mr. Saito had died of his wounds.
Akihiko Saito, then, was never held hostage by the Army of Ansar al-Sunnah as they originally claimed. Rather, he was shot dead in the terrorist ambush during the initial phase of a US led operation in Western Iraq, near the Syrian border.

Ansar al-Sunnah had previously released video of that ambush which can be found here. The fact that several weeks passed between Saito's death and the release of this video today may indicate that the group is under heavy pressure from US forces. The group is also linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who is rumored to be dead.

Thanks to Chad Evans of In the Bullpen for alerting me. He has more commentary here. Digger also has images here.

Vlad has mirrored the Ansar al-Sunnah website here since the terrorists make it a habit of using short-lived free webhosting services.

James Joyner has the MSM reaction and blogger round up.

Screenshots and graphic images below. WARNING: THESE IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC AND SHOW THE TRUE FACE OF THE TERRORIST ENEMIES WE FIGHT.

Below: A screenshot of the latest iteration of the Ansar al-Sunnah banner. Click for larger image.

Below: Announcement of Akihiko Saito's death on Ansar al-Sunnah Website. Click for larger image.

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES FOLLOW

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Below: Images released by the Army of Ansar al-Sunnah of Akihiko Saito.

Akihiko3_saito_japanese_hostage_dead_graphic_1.jpg

Below: An image from the video.

Akihiko3_saito_japanese_hostage_dead_graphic_2.jpg

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:32 PM | Comments |