Islamic State releases new execution video, purportedly kills American

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The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that controls large portions of Iraq and Syria, has released a new video showing the mass beheadings of Syrian soldiers. The video also includes a scene purportedly showing the severed head of Peter Kassig, who was kidnapped in late 2013. Kassig is a former US Army Ranger who was serving as an aid worker in Syria at the time of his disappearance.

As in past videos, the Islamic State’s executioner, a man dubbed “Jihadi John” in the press because he speaks with an English accent, is featured. He taunts the West, saying that the Islamic State cannot wait to face American ground troops.

Unlike previous videos, however, the gruesome beheading of Kassig is not the centerpiece of the production. He had already been killed by the time the video cuts to his corpse.

The Islamic State’s media department begins by offering a selective history of the Islamic State and its predecessors, starting with the creation of Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s organization in Iraq. Zarqawi, who was killed in June 2006, swore allegiance to al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden in 2004, officially merging the two organizations. The current Islamic State evolved out of Zarqawi’s group.

After scenes of fighting in Iraq and Syria, the video shows the mass beheadings of Syrian officers and pilots.

A group of Islamic State fighters dressed in camouflage is shown leading the Syrians to their slaughter. They are led by the head executioner, “Jihadi John,” who presumably killed Kassig. One by one the Islamic State executioners select knives from a bin. (The image at the beginning of this piece shows “Jihadi John” selecting his knife.)

“Jihadi John,” the head executioner then speaks, addressing President Obama directly as the “dog of Rome.”

“Today, we are slaughtering the soldiers of Bashar, tomorrow we’ll be slaughtering your soldiers,” the executioner says. He claims that the Islamic State will end this “final crusade” and then begin slaughtering people on “your streets.”

The scene of the mass execution of the Syrians is shot in a sadistic fashion, so as to highlight the drama of the moment, with closeups of the soldiers’ faces and the Islamic State’s henchmen fondling their knives before they begin cutting their victims’ necks.

Although the terrorists committing these war crimes are not specifically identified, they clearly come from various ethnicities and nationalities around the globe.

Last week, jihadists from Algeria, the Sinai in Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen all swore allegiance to Baghdadi in audio messages that were clearly coordinated by the Islamic State. The new video highlights these oaths, playing excerpts from the audio messages as the production moves from location to location on a map intended to represent the Islamic State’s claimed territorial expansion.

The video also replays audio of a speech by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi that was released on Nov. 13. Baghdadi accepted the oaths of allegiance in that speech, saying the Islamic State had expanded “to new lands, to the lands of al-Haramayn [Saudi Arabia] and Yemen to Egypt, Libya and Algeria.”

With less than two minutes left in the 16-minute video, “Jihadi John” returns, standing over the head of a man he claims is Kassig. He says that Kassig fought against Muslims during the war in Iraq. He taunts Kassig by saying the dead man “doesn’t have much to say,” as his “previous cellmates have already spoken on his behalf.”

Again addressing Obama, the terrorist says: “[Y]ou claim to have withdrawn from Iraq four years ago. We said to you then that you are liars, that you had not withdrawn. And that if you had withdrawn you would return after some time.”

“You returned,” he says to Obama, “here you are, you have not withdrawn.” America has hid behind its proxies, “Jihadi John” claims, but its forces “will return in greater numbers than before.”

Citing Zarqawi, the Islamic State’s executioner says the “spark has been lit in Iraq” and that they are “eagerly awaiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive.”

Scenes from new Islamic State video, titled “although the disbelievers dislike it”

The video highlights the oaths of allegiance that jihadists from several countries swore to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi last week:

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The video replays part of Baghdadi’s audio message, released on Nov. 13, during which he accepted the oaths of allegiance and claimed that the Islamic State’s “caliphate” had expanded into new lands:

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The video begins with a highly selective history of the Islamic State’s evolution from al Qaeda in Iraq:

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The Syrian soldiers executed in the video are lined up with their executioners standing behind them:

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The Islamic State’s fighters play with their knives before beheading the Syrian soldiers:

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

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  • Birbal Dhar says:

    Looks like IS had the last western hostage. If they had been more already under IS, then Jihadi John would have showed more westerners to be killed. There were reports that American and European female aid workers were kidnapped in Syria probably a year or 2 ago, but it looks like IS doesn’t have them.

  • MARSOC 84 says:

    Well It has been a while since I have commented on this site, I love the site, but I am back in school now after 10 years serving in the wars, so I don’t have as much time to post as I used to.
    I am mad as all hell about this disgusting and cowardly act by these ISIS scumbags. When I served in Iraq as a Force Recon Marine, before joining MARSOC. The SAS, ST6, and Delta, were making mince meat out of Al Qaida in Iraq, and the Iraqi insurgents. We knew them as TF Black. (Task Force Black).
    They have caused equal damage to the Taliban and Haqqani network in Afghanistan.
    Well Obama needs to stop piddling around with Air strikes (nothing against our airmen, I am sure they are causing damage and killing ISIS pukes) and send those bad boys into Iraq to start targeting ISIS commanders on the ground.
    And I can only hope and pray that our Americans who have been be-headed by the SOB mother, are avenged and that Jihadi John, or whatever his name is, is assassinated ASAP.
    My heart goes out to Peter Kassig, a former bad-ass Ranger, who was trying to deliver food and was killed for it. ISIS are filth, animals…and they should be hunted down (on the ground) and killed as such IMHO.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I also forgot to mention on the last message that there is one remaining western hostage captured by the IS called John Cantlie, a journalist, who is being used by IS to propagate their views.

  • David says:

    Can anyone explain how these animals were able to obtain digital camo? Most of the time terrorist groups are pictured wearing non-matching plain cloths attire. Is it part of the gear/equipment taken by the savage as they went through parts of Iraq?

  • Richard Cavagnol says:

    Where did the insurgents get the MARPAT uniforms?

  • Dave says:

    I like to think that there’s a very good reason that the video does not show Mr. Kassig’s actual murder … that instead of reading the prepared script, Mr. Kassig’s last words were to advise his killer that the murder of an innocent man could condemn his murderer to Jahannam (Islamic hell).
    And Mr. Kassig was more than innocent … he had devoted his life to helping other innocent Muslims who were injured and suffering from a state of war.
    I don’t believe that it was Mr. Kassig’s intent, but his actions reflect the highest ideals of our nation. Our country needs to honor his service … the loss of his life in this non-military, selfless service.
    I offer my sympathy to his family. This loss brings tears to the eyes of strangers.

  • Arjuna says:

    Birbal Dhar, I think we need to stop referring to Cantlie as a “hostage” especially after that last 60 Minutes rip-off piece from Kobane. He was all-in just like that other famous Brit Lord Haw-Haw. Stockholm syndrome or not, he deserves to be referred to simply as a “target” going forward. With all due respect to his innocent family, he needs to die quickly before he infects more Brits with his misguided view of who’s a hero and who’s not.
    I pray that the 26 year old Californian woman is o.k. and not with ISIL, but I wouldn’t want to bet on it. I hope she and Austin Tice are with Al Nusra and not just away from Raqqa someplace. I think ISIL could be making a high-level propaganda decision that killing or harming her publicly would do their cause more harm than good, which it most certainly would. Although more evidence of their war crimes and depravity is hardly needed for life sentences at the ICC for those of them that survive what’s coming.
    MARSOC 84, I couldn’t agree more. Having a TF of Tier 1 and SAD folks on the ground popping and snatching leaders would go a long way to making them fear US and knocking their leadership off balance in a way that airstrikes never will. Having twelve A-teams just acting as FACs and advisers is using the SF at about half (or less) of their capacity. Let’s do more, unleash the dogs of war, and get out and kick some doors. Glad you’re back home safe.
    ISIL are the varsity of terrorists, so they wear varsity uniforms (and Oakley tactical assault gloves). Maybe they got the MARPAT uniforms from the CIA via the Syrian “moderates” or they paid to have them copied/counterfeited. That’s as close to an SF unit as they have. Hard boys. Juicy targets.

  • Rajan says:

    They are releasing new videos each time beheading but why isn’t the government retaliating? Only giving speech to take action is not enough. So sad to see people getting beheaded.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    @ Arjuna
    How do you know that John Cantile is doing ISIS propaganda, without duress ? Unless you have evidence that he is not forced to do it, he remains a hostage.

  • Arjuna says:

    Birbal Dhar, there is most certainly duress. He has indicated as much. He is being treated better because he became their spokeshostage. He is under an instant death sentence if he refuses to cooperate, I’m sure. His family are possibly in danger too. I can’t say enough about the fear he must feel if he stops playing for their team. But the fact remains, he is playing for their team. He needs to refuse to play ball, like Peter A-R Kassig almost certainly did; which is why they didn’t get an anti-American last statement out of him the way they did with Foley. R.I.P brave Ranger. You make Americans proud.
    This is the terrible truth of terrorism. It drives good people crazy and frightens them into doing things they should never do… like trade five enemy leaders for one deserter. I am most respectful of your humanity, however, and wish there were more people like you, Birbal Dhar. You have not lost your compassion, unlike some of us.


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