The U.N. Security Council on Sunday condemned the apparent "heinous and cowardly" murder of Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant militants, Anadolu Agency reported.
In a statement, the members of the council said the killing was "a tragic reminder of the increasing dangers people face every day in Syria, including journalists."
A video released on Saturday purportedly by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, or ISIL, claimed that the militant group killed one of its two Japanese hostages -- Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old businessman who went missing in Syria last August.
The video, which was emailed to the remaining captive Kenji Goto's wife, shows an image of him holding a picture of the body of Yukawa, who was "slaughtered in the land of the Islamic Caliphate" in what appears to be Goto's voiceover.
The Security Council "demanded the immediate release" of Goto, a 48-year-old freelance journalist.
"The members of the Security Council stressed again that ISIL must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out," read the statement.
The unrest created by constant fighting and subsequent instability in Iraq and Syria paved the way for extremist movements such as ISIL to gain a foothold in the region, on which it has declared what it calls a cross-border Islamic caliphate
ISIL previously claimed it beheaded three U.S. hostages -- James Foley, Peter "Abdul-Rahman" Kassig and Steven Sotloff -- since August 2014, as well as British citizens David Haines and Alan Henning.
The group also holds British journalist John Cantlie and a 26-year-old American female aid worker, among others.