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HomeMiddle EastIslamic State Releases Video of Execution of Alan Henning, British Aid Worker

Islamic State Releases Video of Execution of Alan Henning, British Aid Worker

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI and KIMIKO DE FREYTAS-TAMURA
October 3, 2014

The Islamic State has released another video of a beheading — this one of a middle-aged British aid worker, Alan Henning, who was abducted last year from the ambulance he had driven into Syria to offer lifesaving help.

As in the previous three execution videos circulated by the extremist group, the victim is shown kneeling in a rocky, desert landscape and is forced to read a script blaming his county’s actions for his death. After panning over his dead body, the executioner shows an American aid worker and former Army Ranger, Peter Kassig, 26, and identifies him as the next to be killed.

The terrorist group which controls large swaths of Syria and neighboring Iraq has now executed four Western hostages, including two Americans and two Britons — starting with the American freelance journalist James Foley, who was beheaded in August. Besides Mr. Kassig, they are also holding a 26-year-old American woman and John Cantlie, a British journalist. And there are unconfirmed reports that they have also kidnapped several Italian aid workers as well as a woman from New Zealand.

“Hi, I am Alan Henning,” the aid worker is forced to say in the moments before his death. “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 in the one minute, 11 second clip, which was uploaded to YouTube on Friday afternoon.

After killing Mr. Henning, who was 47, a masked jihadist is shown holding Mr. Kassig by the scruff of his neck: “Obama, you have started your air bombardment in Sham which keeps on striking our people. It is only right that we continue to strike the necks of your people,” he says, using a name for a region that includes Syria, before the screen goes black.

A former taxi driver from Greater Manchester, Mr. Henning stood on street corners for months to raise funds to buy an ambulance, according to friends and colleagues.

His plan was to carry aid on behalf of Aid4Syria, a British charity. He skipped Christmas with his family to be the only non-Muslim on an aid convoy traveling to northern Syria, and was abducted last December within 30 minutes of crossing into the troubled, war-scarred country.

Majid Freeman, 26, who was on the convoy with Mr. Henning when he was kidnapped, told the BBC that on Dec. 26, shortly after arriving in a compound in Al-Dana, a town a few miles from the Turkish border, masked gunmen rushed in. “They called all of us out, they asked our dates of birth, they tried to find out if we were spies,” he said. “They came to the conclusion that Gadget may have been a spy, reason being he had a chip in his passport,” he said, referring to Mr. Henning by his nickname.

Even leading Al Qaeda ideologues came out in defense of Mr. Henning, saying it was un-Islamic to kill a humanitarian worker.

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(via NY Times)