World

Actions

ISIS Beheads Henning, More Western Hostages At Risk

ISIS has released another execution video, this time of British aid worker Alan Henning. The group also threatened an American captive.
Posted at 9:40 PM, Oct 03, 2014

The terrorist group ISIS has released another gruesome video purporting to show the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, the fourth Western hostage ISIS has executed on film.

In the brief video, which is noticeably shorter than the group's previous execution videos, Henning's masked executioner blames the killing on the U.K. parliament's approval of airstrikes targeting ISIS. The killer then threatens the life of an American hostage, identified as Peter Kassig. 

Henning was abducted in Syria last December, while traveling with an aid convoy. A taxi driver from northern England, Henning made four trips into Syria and frequently volunteered on charity efforts to help those affected by the country's brutal civil war. (Video via BBC)

Henning's selfless generosity touched those he worked alongside — a fellow aid worker produced this video begging for his release. His capture and eventual execution drew the ire of many in the Muslim community — even other terrorist groups like al Qaeda, according to The Independent.

An analyst for The Telegraph speculates"It may be that even [ISIS] felt some embarrassment, such has been the uproar that the threat to kill Mr Henning has caused in the Muslim world. As a man who had volunteered to drive workers from a Muslim charity to take aid to Muslims in Syria, whose members had made heart-rending appeals for him to be released, the killers might have decided to avoid displaying a lengthy humiliation of their victim."

ISIS's next stated victim, Peter Kassig, was also driven to Syria by the desire to help those in need. A former U.S. Army ranger, Kassig devoted himself to helping Syrian refugees, and even started his own charity, the Special Emergency Response and Assistance relief group.

Before his capture, Kassig was profiled multiple times by the media for his work with SERA. In 2012, he told CNN he couldn't ignore the suffering caused by Syria's civil war.

KASSIG: "The way I saw it, I didn't have a choice. This is what I was put here to do. I guess I'm just a hopeless romantic, and an idealist, and I believe in hopeless causes."

It's not known how many hostages ISIS still holds, but at least one captive — British journalist John Cantlie — has been granted a stay of execution by ISIS, instead appearing in a series of English propaganda videos for the group. (Video via The Telegraph)

And Foreign Policy reports the group is holding at least one more American aid worker — a 26-year-old female whose identity has not been made public.

Both the U.S. and the U.K. condemned Henning's execution Friday.