Beirut | An Islamic State group video released today purports to show extremists beheading a dozen Syrian soldiers and ends with a militant claiming to have killed US aid worker Peter Kassig, the latest slaughter proudly broadcast by the group on the Internet. The video ends with the militant standing over a severed head he says belongs to Kassig.
US officials said they were working to determine the video’s authenticity. Kassig’s family said it was awaiting the outcome of the investigation. We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause, the family said in a statement.
The footage appeared on websites used in the past by the Islamic State group, which now controls a third of Syria and Iraq. The video identifies the militants’ location as Dabiq, a town in northern Syria that the Islamic State group uses as the title of its Englishlanguage propaganda magazine and where they believe an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and their enemies will take place.
The slickly produced video shows the beheadings of about a dozen men identified as Syrian military officers and pilots, all dressed in blue jumpsuits. The main militant in the video who speaks to the camera has a British accent and warns that US soldiers will meet a similar fate. We say to you, Obama: … You claim to have withdrawn from Iraq four years ago, the militant said. Here you are: You have not withdrawn. Rather, you hid some of your forces behind your proxies.
A US led coalition is targeting the Islamic State group in airstrikes, supporting Westernbacked Syrian rebels, Kurdish fighters and the Iraqi military. Audio in the video appears to have been distorted to make it more difficult to identify the militant. Previous videos featured a militant with a British accent that the FBI says it has identified, though it hasn’t named him publicly.
Later, the militant claims Kassig was killed because he fought against the Muslims in Iraq, while serving as a soldier. Kassig, from Indianapolis, Indiana, formerly served in the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, a special operations unit, and deployed to Iraq in 2007. After being medically discharged, Kassig formed the aid organization Special Emergency Response and Assistance, or SERA, in Turkey to aid Syrian refugees.
He began delivering food and medical supplies and provided trauma care to wounded Syrian civilians. Friends say he converted to Islam in captivity and took the first name AbdulRahman.