CAIRO – An Internet video released Friday purports to show an Islamic State group fighter beheading British hostage Alan Henning, the fourth such killing carried out by the extremist group now targeted in U.S.-led airstrikes.
Henning, 47, had joined an aid convoy and was taken captive Dec. 26, shortly after crossing the border between Turkey and Syria.
The video mirrored other beheading videos shot by the Islamic State group, which now holds territory along the border of Syria and Iraq, and ended with a militant threatening a man they identified as an American named Peter Kassig.
“Obama, you have started your aerial bombardment of Shams (Syria), which keeps on striking our people, so it is only right that we continue to strike the neck of your people,” the masked militant in the video said.
Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council spokeswoman, confirmed that Kassig was being held by Islamic State militants, in a statement issued Friday evening.
“At this point we have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video released earlier today. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal – military, diplomatic, law enforcement and intelligence – to try to bring Peter home to his family,” Hayden said.
The Associated Press could not immediately verify the video’s authenticity, though it was released in the same manner as other Islamic State group videos.
Britain has been supporting U.S. military efforts against the Islamic State group by using British forces to help with logistics and intelligence gathering, as well as recently taking part in airstrikes in Iraq.
This is the fourth such video released by the Islamic State group. The full beheadings are not shown in the videos, but the British-accented, English-speaking militant holds a long knife and appears to begin cutting his victims.
FBI Director James Comey has said American officials believe they know the identity of the masked militant, though he’s declined to name the man or reveal his nationality.
Kassig, a 26-year-old American now threatened by the Islamic State group, enlisted in the Army in 2004, and became a Ranger, ultimately serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment, an Army special operations unit.
According to his military record, Kassig deployed to Iraq from April to July 2007. He was medically discharged at the rank of private first class in September 2007. His home of record at the time of his enlistment was Indianapolis, Indiana.
Kassig had been working for the relief organization SERA when he was captured Oct. 1, 2013, on his way to Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria, according to his family.
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