Video: Terrorists Murder Hostage Akihiko Saito

Akihiko Saito, a Japanese man working as a U.S. Defense Department contractor in Iraq, has been murdered by the so-called Army of Ansar al-Sunnah. The group has posted a video on its website with what purports to be Saito’s body.

Iraq militant group says Saito died after being injured in shooting (Japan Today)

Akihiko Saito, a Japanese security consultant who has been missing in Iraq since an Iraqi militant group ambushed a convoy he was riding in earlier in May, has died from injuries after being shot, according to the group.

The Sunni militant group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, has posted on its website an image of what appears to be a dead man, whom it claims is Saito, along with images of his passport and ID card.

Digger has a photo of Saito’s ID card, which is a U.S. DoD Common Access Card for contractors, similar to the one I carry. He also has several gruesome photos as well as the four minute video.

Chad Evans, who was apparently the first in the blogosphere to link the video, observes,

I am sad to hear the loss of Saito, however I do believe it was better he died from wounds suffered in the attack than at the hands of Ansar al-Sunnah̢۪s own Islamic trials. Surely the brutal torture Saito went through while in Ansar al-Sunnah̢۪s custody could not have helped out matters.

Indeed. Ansar al-Sunnah carried out several gruesome beheadings of hostages, so death by bullet is indeed preferable.

Rusty Shackleford had extensive coverage of Saito being taken hostage on May 9.

Update: He’s got more on the latest developments now.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.