Islamic State beheads another Brit, threatens American aid worker


After beheading British aid worker Alan Henning, the Islamic State displayed former US Army Ranger Peter Edward Kassig.

The Islamic State carried through on its Sept. 13 threat to execute British aid worker Alan Henning if Britain did not cease airstrikes against the jihadist group. Afterward, the jihadist group threatened to kill a former US Army Ranger who was captured while running an aid group in Syria.

Today the Islamic State released a short video that showed the execution of Henning. The video opens with a news clip that announces Britain’s involvement in US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State. After the news video is played, the words “Another message to America and its allies” is displayed.

Henning, 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 the hostage’s side.

Henning issues a brief statement before he is killed.

“I am Alan Henning. Because of our Parliament’s decision to attack the Islamic State, I, as a member of the British public, will now pay the price for that decision,” he says.

His jihadist executioner, who is certainly the same man who killed two other Americans and a British citizen in the same fashion in previous videos, then speaks.

“The blood of David Haines was on your hands Cameron. Alan Henning will also be slaughtered, but his blood is on the hands of the British Parliament,” the jihadist says, and then proceeds to behead Henning.

Henning’s bloody body is subsequently displayed, with his head placed on his back.

The executioner is then shown with American hostage Peter Edward Kassig, who, like Henning, is also wearing an orange shirt and pants and is kneeling on the ground with his hands bound behind his back.

“Obama, you have started your aerial bombardment in Sham [Syria], which keeps on striking our people. So it is only right that we continue to strike the necks of your people,” the jihadist says, threatening Kassig.

Kassig is a former US Army Ranger who founded Special Emergency Response and Assistance, an aid group that operated in Syria and Lebanon. The group “temporarily ceased its operations” sometime after Kassig was kidnapped, according to a statement on SERA’s home page.

Henning is the fourth Western hostage executed by the Islamic State since the US opened its air campaign against the group in Iraq on Aug. 7.

Kassig may only have a few weeks to live unless US forces are able to identify his location and rescue him. If the past is any indication, the Islamic State will execute Kassig within the next two to three weeks. The Islamic State released its first execution video, of American James Wright Foley, on Aug. 19, and in it threatened Steven Joel Sotloff, another US citizen. The video of Sotloff’s beheading was released on Sept. 2, and British citizen David Cawthorne Haines was threatened. Haines’ beheading video was released on Sept. 13, and Henning was threatened in that video.

The Islamic State is also known to be holding British journalist John Cantlie and an unidentified female American citizen. Cantlie has been featured in a series of Islamic State videos called “Lend Me Your Ears,” which discusses the jihadist group’s perspective on the US-led military intervention in Iraq and Syria.

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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  • Birbal Dhar says:

    It shows how evil ISIS are, to go and kill a human being who went out of his way to help people in Syria irrespective of religion.
    I read on the Daily Telegraph website how a resident from Raqqa witness ISIS closing roads towards the desert in preparing for the execution of Alan Henning.
    The Daily Telegraph mentions a Twitter user, who has offered previously credible accounts of ISIS activities, offered a detailed description of the killing, describing how gunmen sealed off the roads leading to the desert near Raqqa, the extremists’ Syrian stronghold.
    He said they drove a captive dressed in orange to the hill where they had previously beheaded Mr Foley. He also spotted a man carrying a knife, adding that he believes it’s the same person who executed the reporters before.
    “Isis beheaded this captive at 7:50 am and many cars went with them, one of cars were carrying a big TV camera in it,” wrote @Raqqa_SI on his twitter account.
    Two more cameras captured the killing, added the account.
    And just like before, he added that another prisoner was being readied to appear in a video.
    “We notice a Nissan red station and a black 4×4, in this black car there was another captive who was protected with many Isis troops,” he wrote.”

  • Arjuna says:

    Birbal Dhar, thanks for the info. Sounds like Kassig was the second guy. Poor devil. He must know the script by now. Where are the SAS (or Delta) when you need them? We should be killing all MAMs in Raqqa, as a matter of principle.

  • Barry Larking says:

    Bill, that photograph doesn’t look like the late Alan Henning. Can you check?
    Henning went to Syria under the auspices of an Islamic aid group centred on Birmingham UK. I have read that they are ‘distancing’ themselves from responsibility for what happened to him on arrival. Some of the details of Mr Henning’s kidnap are disturbing if corroborated; it is claimed he was seized within minutes of crossing into Syria with the aid convoy.

  • Barry Larking says:

    Ignore my last. I need reading glasses or lessons.

  • Arjuna says:

    Apparently Kassig converted to Islam in IS captivity and took an Islamic first name. His mother says the new faith is giving him strength.

    JIC, for anyone who doesn’t know about it.
    ISIS has merely chosen to step out in front of the rest.
    I suspect that few in the non-military, non-intel parts of the US Executive Branch even know the book exists.

  • JRP says:

    The President can proclaim “No Boots on the Ground in Iraq” all he wants. Truth be told, the facts on the ground are shaping up where, unless the United States goes back into Iraq and quickly, IS is going to overrun Baghdad and massacre thousands, to include our entire Embassy contingent. It’s inevitable. We are going back to Iraq. So . . . We might as well do it before the slaughter. If we don’t, this is shaping up to be the U.S.’s worst disaster since 9/11.

  • blert says:

    I’m reading on the Web that the execution site has been repeatedly used — ritualistically.
    And that the locals can see it directly from Raqqa; it’s a locally prominent “mound” that is otherwise unremarkable.
    Further, that a smallish convoy takes the executioner and his merry band to and fro.
    On the basis that Raqqa figures to be under almost continuous drone observation… what can the Western public think of such open, repeated, events?
    Previously, I thought that the executioner would’ve performed his deed in secrecy.
    Such tales also indicate that the executioner is getting his cutting orders straight from al Baghdadi.
    Apparently, the ISIS command has wrapped itself in a blanket of local, Sunni, hostage civilians.
    Unlike previous accounts, this tale gives one every impression that the Western hostages are imprisoned back at ISIS GHQ. No further hostage rescue attempts has the slightest possibility of success.

  • Paul says:

    Trying to overthrow Assad who is one of the best ME leaders
    despite Western smears was a fatal strategic decision by the West.
    I can only hope we are sincerely changing course & going after the radical jihadists & will support legit Gov & armed forces in Syria, who are the boots on ground.
    (Of course we have aided the jihadist to fight Russia. But that needs to end.)

  • MEB says:

    If that’s true, as unappetizing as it might be, the best option might be to obliterate the execution convoy on its way out of town — probably a faster death for the hostage, and condign punishment for his barbarian captors.

  • Arjuna says:

    Paul, you make a very astute point. Like Saddam, Assad was never the United States’ natural enemy. A threat to Israel and his own minorities/dissidents perhaps, but a rational actor nonetheless who enforced the law of the desert in his area of operations and kept the crazy jihadis under his boot.
    We should cook up a big meal of crow, eat it down, forget about training any so-called moderates, make a non-aggression pact with him, and wipe out ISIS and Al Nusra in an east-to-west fashion, taking as few prisoners as possible. Given the craziness and growing power of the jihadists, I bet even Israel and the majority of Syrians would thank us.


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