Islamic State just released a video showing the British terrorist known as Jihadi John standing over the severed head of US aid worker Peter Kassig.
Kassig is the one of five US and UK hostages to have been murdered in cold blood in Syria as part of a propaganda initiative by Isis.
The footage also showed what appeared to be the mass beheading of several captured Syrian soldiers.
At the end of the 15min53sec video released by Al Furqan media on early Sunday morning a man who looks and sounds like British combatant dubbed Jihadi John, whom the Mail on Sunday claims was injured in a recent US air strike, stands over head of Peter Kassig.
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The militant appears to be uninjured and dressed in exactly the same outfit as in previous videos – a full black robe, a leather knife belt and a balaclava-style mask over his face showing only his eyes.
Speaking to the camera he says: “This is Peter Edwards 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“But we say to you Obama … you claim to have withdrawn from Iraq four years ago. We said to you then that you were liars, that you had not withdrawn. And that if you had withdrawn you would return even after some time – you would return.”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 adds: “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 it’s heat will continue to intensify by Allah’s permission until it burns the crusader army.”
He said Isis would “bury” American soldiers under Syrian soil.
It was not immediately possible to confirm that the man pictured in the video was Kassig. Family representatives were not immediately available for comment.
Kassig, a 26-year-old charity worker from Indiana, was taken hostage in October 2013 while on his way to Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria as part of his humanitarian work.
He changed his name to Abdul-Rahman Kassig upon converting to Islam in captivity.
There was a media blackout around his kidnapping until he appeared in a video in October that showed the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning. In that video, an Isis militant threatened to kill Kassig, which prompted his family to go public.
Kassig’s family released a letter from him in October, which read in part: “Mentally I am pretty sure this is the hardest thing a man can go through, the stress and fear are incredible but I am coping as best I can. I am not alone.”
Kassig enlisted in the US army in 2004, according to his army records obtained by the Associated Press, and became a ranger.
He was deployed to Iraq in 2007, according to an interview he gave to Time magazine. He was honourably discharged from the army for medical reasons, his family said. He attended Butler University in Indianapolis between 2011 and 2013 to study political science and government, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Kassig went to Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, during spring break 2012. “I was interested in what I could learn about the Syrian crisis first-hand and what I could do to help and raise awareness about the crisis amongst my peers back at home in the United States,” he told Time. He had been taking an entry-level Arabic course there.
He described his travels throughout Lebanon, particularly his experiences volunteering “on a small scale” in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Beirut, as well as in a hospital in Tripoli, Lebanon, “offering my services as a trauma medic to Syrian refugees who have been wounded in the fighting in Syria”.
In 2012 he founded Special Emergency and Response and Assistance (Sera), a “medically-oriented emergency relief organization” serving the internally displaced and refugees. The organization was focused on the civil war in Syria.
Sera, a small operation, specialized in “non-material aid and assistance”, which largely meant providing medical training, coordinating relief for “high-risk” medical cases and coordinating the delivery of medical supplies to children and civilians to “field camps, refugee camps and hospitals located in Lebanon and Syria”.
Photographs on the organisation’s website show Kassig providing training and medical treatment.
Kassig’s family said he was undertaking a project for Sera when he was captured on 1 October last year, on his way to Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria.
Earlier on Sunday, British prime minister David Cameron declined to comment on reports suggesting the British Jihadi believed to be responsible for executing hostages in Syria had been injured or even killed in allied air strikes.
“You should be in no doubt that I want Jihadi John to face justice for the appalling acts that have been carried out in Syria, but I wouldn’t make any comment on individual issues and strikes,” Cameron said.
“If people travel to Syria or Iraq in order to conduct terror operations against British people or British citizens, and people back in Britain, they are putting themselves in harm’s way and they should not be in any doubt that.”
The British Foreign Office said: “We are aware of reports and we cannot confirm these reports.” – theguardian
Watch video HERE