Thursday, April 08, 2004
Three Japanese civilians have been kidnapped by Shi'ite thugs in Iraq and paraded before cameras. The captors, believed to be members of the al-Mehdi militia, have threatened to burn alive and eat their hostages unless the Japanese troops ditch Iraq within three days.

“We tell you that three of your children have fallen prisoner in our hands and we give you two options — withdraw your forces from our country and go home or we will burn them alive and feed them to the fighters,” the group said.

In horrifying video, the terrorists were shown holding knives to the captives' throats as the three scream for life. The footage, broadcast on al-Jazeera (where else?), has been met with a mix of shock and anger in Japan.

So far, Prime Minister Koizumi has refused to bow (they do a lot of that in Japan) to the terrorists' demands and has vowed to stay the course. Let's hope his resolve withstands the current crisis; the Coalition cannot survive another desertion.