The Islamic State (IS) group released a graphic video yesterday in which a black-clad militant claims to have beheaded US aid worker Peter Kassig, who was captured last year.
The militant is seen standing over a severed head, but it was not immediately possible to confirm that Kassig, 26, was pictured in the video.
The video, which was posted on Web sites used by the group in the past, appeared to be the latest in a series of grisly messages to the US, warning of further brutality if it does not abandon its air campaign in Iraq and Syria.
“This is Peter Edward Kassig, a US citizen, of your country; Peter who fought against the Muslims in Iraq, while serving as a soldier,” the militant says near the end of the nearly 16-minute video. He speaks in an audible British accent despite his voice being distorted to make it more difficult to identify him.
The video also shows what appears to be the mass beheading of several Syrian soldiers captured by the group. The militants warn that US soldiers will meet a similar fate.
Kassig, a US Army Ranger, was providing medical aid to Syrians fleeing the country’s civil war when he was captured inside Syria on Oct. 1 last year. His friends say he converted to Islam in captivity and took the first name Abdul-Rahman.
The video identifies the militant’s location as Dabiq, a town in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, near the Turkish border.
Previous videos have shown the beheadings of two US journalists and two British aid workers. The latest video did not show the beheading.
Kassig formed the aid organization Special Emergency Response and Assistance in Turkey to provide aid and assistance to Syrian refugees. He began delivering food and medical supplies to Syrian refugee camps in 2012.
He is also a trained medical assistant who provided trauma care to injured Syrian civilians and helped train 150 civilians in providing medical aid.
The IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives — mainly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers — and has celebrated mass killings in a series of slickly produced but extremely graphic videos.
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