Islamic State beheads British citizen, threatens another

The Islamic State released a video today of the beheading of David Cawthorne Haines, a British citizen who was kidnapped while providing security for an aid group in Syria’s Idlib province in March 2013. In the video, the Islamic State also threatens to kill Alan Henning, another captive British citizen, if Britain continues to support operations against the jihadist group.

The short video begins with a clip of Prime Minister David Cameron explaining Britain’s role in fighting the Islamic State. After the brief clip of Cameron, the words “A message to the allies of America” is displayed.

Haines, whose hands are cuffed behind his back and is wearing an orange shirt and pants, is shown kneeling in the desert. A masked Islamic State fighter dressed in black and wielding a knife stands to Haine’s side.

“I would like to declare that I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution,” Haines says. “You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State, just as your predecessor Tony Blair did, following a trend amongst our British prime ministers who can’t find the courage to say no to the Americans. Unfortunately, it is we the British public that in the end will pay for the price for our parliament’s selfish decisions.”

The knife-wielding jihadist says that Haines “has to pay the price for your promise to Cameron to arm the Peshmerga against the Islamic State.” He also claims that Haines “has spent a decade of his life serving under the brutal air force that is responsible for delivering those arms.”

The Islamic State executioner then says that Britain’s “evil alliance with America, which continues to strike the Muslims of Iraq and most recently bombed the Haditha Dam, will only accelerate your destruction” and “will only drag you and your people into another bloody and un-winnable war.”

The jihadist then proceeds to behead the British man. Haines’ bloody body is displayed, with his head placed on his back.

The video then shows the executioner standing next to Alan Henning, another British citizen who was captured by the Islamic State.

“If you Cameron insist on fighting the Islamic State then you, like your master, Obama, will have the blood of your people on your hands,” the jihadist says.

The murder of Haines appears to be shot in the same location as the Islamic State’s previous beheading videos of Steven Joel Sotloff and James Wright Foley, two American journalists who were captured in Syria. The Islamic State fighter looks and sounds to be the same man who beheaded the two American journalists.

If the past is any indication, the Islamic State will execute Henning within the next two weeks. The Islamic State released its first execution video, of Foley, on Aug. 19, and in it threatened Sotloff. The video of Sotloff’s beheading was released on Sept. 2, and Haines was threatened.

“An act of pure evil”

Prime Minister Cameron responded to the beheading of Haines by describing it as “an act of pure evil.”

“We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes,” Cameron said, according the BBC.

The US government has refused to halt its air campaign and has even expanded operations after the beheadings of Sotloff and Foley. US warplanes moved from defending Irbil and aiding refugees on Mount Sinjar to supporting not only an operation by Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake the Mosul Dam, but also an offensive by Iraqi forces and an Iranian-backed Shia militia to break the Islamic State’s siege of Amerli, and the defense of the Haditha Dam in Anbar by military and tribal forces.

In the airstrikes, which began on Aug. 7, the US military has destroyed numerous Islamic State armored personnel carriers, armored vehicles, artillery pieces, and technicals and pickup trucks, in addition to fixed fighting positions. The number of Islamic State fighters and commanders killed in the airstrikes has not been disclosed. On Sept. 13 CENTCOM said it had conducted a total of 158 airstrikes across Iraq against the Islamic State.

The US is attempting to put together a coalition of nations to support its counterterrorism campaign against the Islamic State. President Barack Obama said the operation would mirror the “successfully pursued” counterterrorism efforts in Yemen and Somalia.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • My2Cents says:

    Any indication how long ago the execution took place? I would guess several days to route the tape in a manner to prevent it being traced. It even could have been done at the same time as the others and then delayed for maximum effect. Probably all the recent pleadings and negotiation was meaningless.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I mentioned before, IS have run out of American hostages and are now targeting other western hostages in their prisons. IS will go and kill them even if one of the prisoners is from a country that is not involved in potential military attacks against the group. IS will just use excuses by saying western countries have attack the IS and any citizen of a western country, irrespective whether one of the western countries are involved against IS military or not, will be brutally murdered.

  • Walter says:

    Seems a World Problem not just british….
    Trend amongst THOSE (our British prime ministers) who can’t find the courage to say no to the Americans.
    When that happens, truely a better world will emerge,
    a world of it’s Own Making!


    By killing innocent people, ISIS is setting very bad example. To kill innocent people is not teaching of ISLAM. In most ISLAMIC countries, musalmaan are killing musalmaan.


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