A new and very graphic video has been released by IS showing the murder of another hostage.
The video, showing the beheading of Peter Kassig, was released hours after it was reported that the militant who has been conducting the beheading in the previous videos, Jihadi John, had been injured in an airstrike.
In the 16 minute video, a black clad militant, who may have been Jihadi John, stands in front of a severed and claims the head belonged to Peter Kassig.
Kassig, 26, was captured last year while helping provide medical aid to Syrians. His friends say he converted to Islam in captivity and changed his name to Abdul-Rahman. The video also shows the beheading of several captured Syrian soldiers. As with the previous videos the militant gives a message saying who will be next, this time it has been stated to President Obama that an American will be next.
The man, apparently Jihadi John, says to camera with a head at his feet, “This is Peter Edward Kassig, a US citizen of your country. Peter, who fought against the Muslims in Iraq whilst serving as a soldier in the American army, doesn’t have much to say. His previous cellmates have already spoken on his behalf. But we say to you, Obama … you claim to have withdrawn from Iraq four years ago. We said to you then that you were liars, that you had not withdrawn. And that if you had withdrawn you would return even after some time – you would return.” He concludes his statement by saying, “Your forces will return greater in number than they were before. We also remind you of the haunting words of our Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi told you. The spark has been lit here in Iraq and its heat will continue to intensify by Allah’s permission until it burns the crusader army.”
Last month, the parents of Mr Kassig released sections of the letter which he had written to them whilst he was in captivity. The aid worker wrote “This is the hardest thing a man can go through, the stress and fear are incredible. They tell us you have abandoned us and/or don’t care but of course we know you are doing everything you can and more. Don’t worry Dad, if I do go down, I won’t go thinking anything but what I know to be true. That you and mom love me more than the moon and the stars.”
In response to the videos release, his grief stricken parents released a statement saying, “We are aware of the news reports being circulated about our treasured son and are waiting for confirmation from the government as to the authenticity of these reports. We will have no other statement at this time and ask that you please respect our privacy.”
As with the previous murders the family has asked the media not to play to IS’ hands and “and refrain from publishing or broadcasting photographs or video distributed by the hostage takers.” In connection to this they said, “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.”
David Cameron has again been forced to comment on the loss of an innocent and the barbarity of IS. He has said he was “horrified by the cold blooded murder” of US hostage Peter Kassig, and claimed that Islamic State militants “have again shown their depravity”.