Melanie Hunter | Deputy Managing Editor | Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Jama'at al-Tawhid and Jihad, a group led by al Qaeda leader Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, had threatened to kill 33-year-old Kim Son-il by Tuesday unless the South Korean government decided not to send thousands of troops to Iraq, but last-minute negotiations at first seemed to prove successful in delaying the execution.
The South Korean government had rejected the hostage-takers' demands, but the kidnappers had reportedly put forth new demands that Seoul was willing to meet.
Son-il is the third hostage to be beheaded in the past two months.
"Obviously that would be horrible news to hear," said White House press secretary Scott McClellan in reaction to the news.
"There simply is no justification for those kinds of atrocities that the terrorists carry out. We've seen some of the barbaric nature of the terrorists recently when it comes to an American citizen that was killed in Saudi Arabia and it is a reminder of the true nature of the terrorist," added McClellan.
See Earlier Story:
Korean Gov't Stands Firm As Another Hostage Threatened With Death (June 21, 2004)