The ISIS has beheaded another American -- a former Army Ranger and aid worker who had converted to Islam, an execution video released on Sunday purportedly shows.
Abdul-Rahman Kassig, 26 (also known as Peter Kassig), was captured in October 2013, but had managed to send a letter to his family with a released hostage.
That was his last contact with them.
Kassig, who is the third American to be executed by the Sunni militant group, appears in the video with the same ISIS terrorist as the one in all others. The militant was covered in all black. Authorities suspect he is a British; he speaks in the same accent.
"This is Peter Edward Kassig," said the terrorist to the camera, "a US citizen of your country. Peter, who fought against the Muslims in Iraq while serving as a soldier under the American army, doesn't have much to say."
This was the fifth beheading of a Westerner by the ISIS, which is also known as the ISIL or Islamic State (IS).
Also, ISIS-linked Jund al-Khilifa claim to have beheaded French tourist Herve Gourdel following his abduction in Algeria, in a video posted online after Paris rejected their demand to halt air strikes in Iraq.
The military strikes have only intensified, with one targeting ISIS leadership last week - there was speculation that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, their top leader, may have been hit.
He wasn't, the ISIS said later.
"We are aware of a video that claims to show the murder of US citizen Peter Kassig by ISIL," said US national security council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan. "The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity."
This video is longer than the previous and shows other men, who could be Syrian government workers, being executed.
Kassig's family has said he had converted to Islam in 2013, before he was taken hostage. He had served with US Army Rangers and had deployed to Iraq in 2007.
In audio released to the family, according to Washington Post, Kassig had said, "I am obviously pretty scared to die but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering, hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all …. I am very sad that all this has happened and for what all of you back home are going through. If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need."
The Islamic State jihadist group also released a video showing the simultaneous beheadings of at least 15 men described as Syrian military personnel.
In the highly choreographed sequence, jihadists march the prisoners by a wooden box of long military knives, each taking one as they pass, before forcing their victims to kneel in a line and decapitating them.
(With AFP inputs)
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