The Islamic State released a video Friday showing the beheading of Alan Henning, a British aid worker kidnapped in Syria, in retaliation for UK strikes against the jihadist group in Iraq.
Henning, 47, nicknamed “Gadget,” had joined an aid convoy and was taken captive on Dec. 26, shortly after crossing the border between Turkey and Syria.
His wife, Barbara, had pleaded for his release in the past week, calling her husband a “peaceful, selfless man” who wanted to help those in need.
Henning speaks briefly to the camera as he kneels. “I’m 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.
British-accented “Jihadi John” then addresses the camera, saying: “The blood of David Haines is on your hands Cameron. Alan Henning will also be slaughtered but his blood is on the hands of the British parliament”.
British Prime Minister David Cameron in a statement said:
“The brutal murder of Alan Henning by ISIL shows just how barbaric and repulsive these terrorists are.
My thoughts and prayers tonight are with Alan’s wife Barbara, their children and all those who loved him.
Alan had gone to Syria to help get aid to people of all faiths in their hour of need. The fact that he was taken hostage when trying to help others and now murdered demonstrates that there are no limits to the depravity of these ISIL terrorists.
We will do all we can to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice.”
The video ends with another hostage paraded in front of the camera, identified as American Peter Edward Kassig, threatening he would be the next victim in retaliation for the American bombardment of the Islamic State.
“Obama, you have started your aerial bombard of Shams [Syria], which keeps on striking our people, so it’s only right we continue to strike the necks of your people.”
Peter Kassig is an Army Ranger veteran who moved to the Middle East to do humanitarian work before being taken hostage.
Kassig enlisted as an infantryman, and was in the Army from June 2006 to September 2007 before being medically discharged as a private first class, Army officials said. He was with the Army’s famous 75th Ranger Regiment from October 2006 to September 2007, and deployed with them to Iraq from April to July 2007.
Kassig started a small medical relief company known as Special Emergency Response and Assistance, or SERA, in 2012 that has headquarters in Gaziantep, Turkey, according to the company’s LinkedIn page.
Kassig also was an employee with TYR Solutions LTD, a British firm that provides security and consulting and training for individuals planning to go to war zones, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Kassig said in an interview published by Time magazine last year that he traveled to the Middle East in 2012 after leaving the Army and while on spring break from Butler University in Indiana. He wanted to learn about the humanitarian crisis in Syria firsthand and see what he could do to raise awareness about it.
In a 2012 interview with CNN, Kassig said that he first traveled to the Lebanese capital of Beirut where he studied how complicated the conflict was. He said some people questioned what he was doing. He told CNN he also wondered whether America was doing enough to help, although he didn’t support military intervention.
In a web page raising funds for his cause, the former soldier said he felt that more could be done to help the Syrians, and thought the most effective way was “through a close connection to those who were in desperate need, by meeting them where they were.”